More than one quarter (609 thousand) of rental homes owned by housing associations were occupied by households with annual incomes in excess of 33 thousand euro. Altogether, the housing association stock comprises 2.2 million houses. Since 2011, the European Commission has imposed this income limit for nearly all dwellings in the low-rent social housing sector.
Decision by the European Commission
Since 1 January last year, the European Commission has decided that 90 percent of the rental housing stock in the Netherlands with a rent below the house rent allowance limit (652.52 euro in 2011) must be made available to households with a taxable income below 33 thousand euro. Last year, more than a quarter of the housing association stock were occupied by people earning incomes above the standard income set by the European Commission. According to the European definition, their incomes were disproportionately high in relation to the rent they had to pay.
Incomes (2010) occupants housing association dwellings, 2011
Many occupants in the Randstad have standard incomes above 33 thousand euro, but few in the north of the country
The proportion of people paying rents which are considered too low relative to their incomes is far above average in many municipalities in the Randstad region, but oddly enough, this is not the case in the four major Dutch cities, where the proportion varies around the nationwide average. The proportion is relatively high in smaller municipalities situated in the vicinity of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
Not all homes owned by housing associations are in the low-rent social housing sector. Approximately 98 percent of housing association dwellings are in the category social housing, but the proportion may vary by municipality. People with incomes above 33 thousand euro living in housing association dwellings in the so-called ‘free sector’, where a residence permit is not required, do not act against the decision of the European Commission.
Proportion of tenants with high incomes living in cheap houses in nine Dutch municipalities, 2011
Green Heart stands out
The municipalities in the Green Heart stand out. In nearly all municipalities in the Green Heart, the share of people, whose incomes are too high relative to the rent they pay, is above 35 percent. This also applies to a group of municipalities on the Veluwe in the province of Gelderland. These are mostly middle-sized municipalities situated in rural areas with a population below 50 thousand.
In the north of the country, but also in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and the central part of the province of Limburg, the proportion of people, whose incomes are too high in relation to their rent, is below 25 percent.
Proportion of housing association dwellings occupied by people earning incomes of 33 thousand euro or more, 2011
Gelske van Daalen, Willem Regeer en Saskia Janssen-Jansen