ANPSocial rental housing in the Transvaal district of The Hague
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:11
Minister De Jonge has changed his plans with the rent allowance after criticism that too many people would suffer a sharp decline. But the idea that tenants in the private sector can also use it remains valid.
In De Jonge’s amended bill, most people who receive housing benefit will lose out slightly: an average of 10 euros per month. In the original plans, a large group of tenants would receive considerably less: to almost 100 euros per month.
This was because the Minister of Housing initially wanted to calculate with a fictitious ‘standard rent’ of around 520 euros. Tenants could only receive a supplement on that amount, even if they paid more for their home.
This led to harsh criticism from, among others, the Council of State, the government’s most important adviser. Because this would make too many people from “a financially vulnerable group” worse off. Rent allowance is only available to people with low incomes who would otherwise be unable to pay the rent.
What has De Jonge changed?
The fictitious rent standard of 520 euros from the first plan has been scrapped. But the new scheme is somewhat simpler, as intended. From now on, tenants will only receive a supplement on their ‘basic rent’. The service costs, which are paid to the landlord for, for example, the maintenance of common areas, will no longer count. However, the monthly contribution will be increased to 4 euros.
As a result, more than 1 million of all 1.5 million people on housing benefit lose an average of 10 euros per month. While in the first set-up there was a group of more than 290,000 households, who would receive up to almost 100 euros less per month because their rent was higher than the invented rent standard.
De Jonge has therefore adjusted parts, but he maintains the idea that tenants with a (temporarily) low income and a high rent in the private sector should also be able to receive housing benefit. That is a group of 116,000 people, says De Jonge, who gain an average of 172 euros per month.
He wants to let go of the maximum rent limit for this. At the moment, the rent limit is more than 800 euros per month (basic rent plus service costs) and anyone above that will not receive a rent subsidy. As far as De Jonge is concerned, only the other condition for eligibility for the allowance will soon be considered: the level of income.
Another proposal that remains standing is to lower the age limit at which full rent allowance can be applied for. It goes from 23 to 21 years old. This makes it the same as the age limit for other schemes, such as the statutory minimum wage.
The new law is planned to come into effect next year, with a five-year transition period. The House of Representatives and the Senate still have to agree to it.
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