Housing wanted

| Lisa Waldera

Lisa Waldera (25) is a master’s student Communication Studies from Bremen, Germany. For three years now, she’s been living on campus. Next to her study, she regularly visits the cinema and enjoys concerts of all music genres. Every other week she writes about her life at the University of Twente.

Photo by: Annabel Jeuring

 Starterswoningen. Housing for starters on the job market. Exactly what I am looking for at the moment. While I am finishing my Master thesis, my girlfriend already graduated and was hired by a company. Close to Amsterdam, though. Too far to drive from Enschede. As a consequence, we are looking for housing in that area. Turns out that this is quite complicated.

It is a known problem in the Netherlands that the country is small and there is barely enough housing available. Starters on the job market have it extra hard due to private investors buying huge apartment complexes and renting them out for double the price. Young people in need for housing became an earnings model for rich Dutch and foreign investors. As a result, they can ask whatever prices and requirements. Requirements we never meet.

Over the last few weeks, I also learned about houses and apartments being given away by the Dutch government. There is a system in place that offers housing for people who do not meet the requirements. Sociale huurwoningen. But also there is a catch. Or two. First, you have to pay for signing up. Every area has their own website where you need to sign up. That means we had to pay for three different areas to find housing in the surroundings of Utrecht and Amsterdam (Amsterdam itself would even be an extra area itself). Second, waiting lists are very long for these houses and apartments. You are allowed to react to two or three different entries per area. Then, you get ranked based on criteria like connection with the area, urgency etc. And that puts us on the 300th place on the waiting list. It will take years for us to find housing this way.

People became aware of these issues lately and some apartments are only given away to people below the age of 30. For these we are raking on the 30th place at least. But also this will take a long time before we are offered housing. I read that students who recently graduated just stay in their student rooms, move back to their parents or into shared apartments. No options for us really. But it also shows that it is too hard for starters to get into starterswoningen. In general, more housing is necessary. But apparently also for pre-starters. Housing for people who would like to start.