Enschede Municipality does not want to play 'landlord'

| Stan Waning

The municipality of Enschede says it was 'not informed' by the UT about the large influx of students and the associated problems of student housing. What can the municipality now do for homeless students?

According to Ton Kamp, spokesperson for the municipality of Enschede, it does not help to blame one party. According to him that would not be justified. 'Both the municipality and the UT would prefer to welcome every student who wants to come to Enschede, but that is not possible at the moment. That is very sad for the student who therefore cannot come to Enschede.'


Student housing is running into problems because the inflow and outflow are not balanced. An imbalance partly caused by the corona crisis, higher student numbers, the brexit and the crazy housing market. When you add that up, Wednesday's message from the UT - although very late - is not a big surprise. Still, the message was unexpected even for the municipality. 'It would have been better if these acute problems had come to light earlier, but as far as I know the municipality was not informed by the UT before Wednesday about the hefty influx of students.'

'Student unfriendly'

Keeping Talent in Twente (KTiT), however, took a hard line against the municipality in newspaper TC Tubantia. 'Does Enschede care about students?', the organization wondered, calling the housing policy of the municipality student-unfriendly. As examples KTiT cites the restriction of the possibilities to make housing suitable for room rental. This is a policy that Enschede uses in the fight against the decay of neighborhoods and against landlords. In addition, for the last one and a half years the city doesn't grant any more permits for converting existing homes to room rental properties. 

Kamp describes blaming solely the municipality as 'a frame'. Because, he says: 'One person thinks that as a municipality you are taking too little action for student housing, another person thinks that as a municipality you are facilitating too much space for students in a certain street or neighbourhood, which results in too many people living in a certain area.' Kamp also emphasizes that the municipality does not want to and cannot act as a landlord. 'We only facilitate in housing needs and try to keep neighborhoods livable.'

The municipality of Enschede hopes above all that private individuals will be able to step in on a short term basis. That will not solve the problem of room shortages, but it can help. Kamp: 'People who have spare space at home and want to rent it out to students, that can be attractive to both parties. There are problems everywhere in the crazy housing market we are in. We bear those together. Hopefully we can also work together to find a solution.'

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