Tenants, housing corporations furious about budget cuts to rent allowance

Tenants’ interest organization Woondbond and Aedes, the umbrella organization for housing corporations, are furious about the government’s plan to cut the rent allowance to fund two new laws. One of the laws is the Affordable Rent Act, which the two organizations called inexplicable.

“It is ironic to take away money needed for, among other things, The Affordable Rent Act from the people with the lowest income,” Martin van Rijn, chairman of Aedes, said in a joint press release with the Woonbond.

This year, the government increased the rent allowance by 17 euros. In the Spring Memorandum, the spring update to the annual budget, the Cabinet announced it would reverse that increase from 2025.

Zeno Winkels, director of the Woonbond, accused the Cabinet of making more and more people dependent on the food bank. “We find the fact that the Cabinet wants to reverse our agreed fair measure in part and possibly in whole unacceptable for several reasons,” he said in the press release. “Even a few euros is a lot of money for people on the lowest incomes, who can barely make ends meet.”

This year’s increase in the rent allowance was possible because the housing corporations are lowering the rents of about a third of their residents to a maximum of 575 euros as of July 1. That resulted in the government spending about 300 million euros less on the rent allowance this year. The government agreed with Aedes and the Woonbond that it would push that money back into helping struggling tenants, hence the 17 euros increase in the allowance.

Aedes and the Woonbond called it strange that tenants with the lowest incomes have to pay for implementing laws that should make living in the Netherlands more affordable. They called on the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, to intervene.

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