The reason for the letters from the Hogekamp residents is a ruling by the district court in Amsterdam last week. The judge agreed with ten residents of the Wasa Student Village who had filed a case against Camelot. The Amsterdam court ruled that the costs that Camelot charged (100 euros in cleaning costs and 202.50 for their digital portal MyCastle) are ‘unreasonable’. Camelot now owes those ten Amsterdam tenants € 302.50 per person.
The Enschede residents see this ruling by the court as a reason to reclaim the same amount. Resident Ritchie Di Betta is the driving force behind this. ‘If I compare the situation of the Amsterdam students with ours, we should also get our wrongly incurred costs back.’
Di Betta helps the other residents to prepare their letters, based on a sample letter. ‘I think we now have three hundred residents here, the majority of whom are international students. They really need the help, because they haven’t mastered the Dutch language and therefore do not understand the issue well. I want to send as many letters as possible to Camelot by this Saturday at the latest.’
When the letters are out, Camelot has 15 days to respond to the students from Enschede. Rianne Kole, communications officer at Camelot, states: ‘Of the 350 residents in the Wasa Student Village in Amsterdam who have been actively approached by the housing association, ten have decided to file a case. For those ten people a rental period of four months was specifically applicable. In this case, the judge deviates from an earlier judgment in 2011, but we have to respect that judgment for these cases.’
Kole says that Camelot adheres to earlier court decisions for other lease agreements. ‘It states, among other things, that we may charge a one-time cleaning fee.’ Kole says that Camelot's main goal is to arrange affordable housing. ‘On average, the rent that we ask is between 400 and 440 euros. That is about thirty percent below the maximum amount that we can ask, according to the Dutch national point system. We simply have certain costs that we would rather not pass on to tenants on a monthly basis.’
Nevertheless, the Hogekamp residents hope that they can get a refund for the cleaning and login costs they paid. ‘Given the Amsterdam court's ruling, I think we have a good chance,’ says Di Betta.