Supervisory directors and directors of about twenty housing associations appear to rent out private houses for personal returns, according to research by the NOS and Nieuwsuur. In addition, they often charge higher rents than their own corporations consider reasonable. Moreover, several top executives rent out houses in the same area as their own corporations, creating the appearance that they can use inside information. Read the justification of our research below.
The research editors of NOS and Nieuwsuur asked the Kadaster how many objects are registered in the name of all directors and supervisory directors who work at the 265 housing corporations that are affiliated with Aedes, the national association of housing corporations. The vast majority of these housing associations had at least one director or supervisory director who had more than one registered object.
We couldn’t investigate all of those officials. After a number of random inquiries, we decided to systematically request information if a director had at least three objects registered to his name, and a supervisory board member with at least five objects (because there is usually only one director, who cannot excuse himself in the event of potential conflicts of interest). This led to a list of more than a hundred people.
The objects sometimes turned out not to be houses, but plots of land or parking garages. But sometimes one or more objects actually turned out to be houses, which in turn were divided into different student rooms or apartments. This means that the directors with two and supervisory directors with two, three or four registered objects, from whom we did not request any land register information, could also have been interesting. However, we have not systematically requested this information.
Someone with only one object in the Land Registry can also own a house on which a BV is listed. There can be several houses on that BV. This only becomes clear when the ownership information of the BV is retrieved in Kadaster. We have not applied this Chamber of Commerce survey systematically either, so that a large part of the Chamber of Commerce information remains unknown to us.
Finally, in Kadaster we only see the houses that are currently owned by officials. For example, we do not see houses that were sold last year. Some houses were sold during our research. We have included them in our counts.
In the end, we came up with a list of about forty people who, in addition to their own owner-occupied house, also own at least two properties that they rent out. It could also be five, or ten, or 25, or 33 buildings. Another forty people also own several properties, but we did not immediately find rental links online. So we omit those.
First of all, we wanted to know whether these officials rent houses to private individuals, or whether they have their own office, pied à terre, or whether accommodation is offered to family or friends. We were only interested in the first category.
We also checked whether the rental properties:
a) are located in an area with a housing shortage;
b) are located in the same area as the corporation in question, or close by: at a maximum of 15 kilometers as the crow flies;
c) have a WOZ value that would currently fall under any municipal purchase protection;
d) are social rental homes (a non-self-contained living space, or a living space of which the number of points in our estimation – submitted to the Rent Assessment Board – is below the liberalization limit), or homes in the mid-market rent: below 187 points;
e) have rents that are higher than the reasonable price from the points system (we have tried as much as possible to base this on the date on which the lease commenced and the rent and WWS standards that applied at the time).
It took a considerable amount of time to retrieve and weigh the information for forty people from each address. We studied deeds of sale, traveled all over the country to the various addresses, spoke to tenants (those who wanted to speak to us), former tenants and neighbours, and measured the rooms, made points counts, and presented them to various experts. and the Rental Committee. We also investigated the precise purchase protection scheme for thirty different municipalities, and tested the current WOZ values of the homes against this scheme. We studied the annual reports over various periods, as well as the most recent visitation reports and governance rules, of about fifty corporations. And we investigated the property of the housing associations themselves, also in the Land Registry, and how this related to the property of the relevant official.
We also looked at how the rental activities relate to the policy, network and rules of our own corporation. And we decided to highlight only those officials who, in addition to their own owner-occupied house, have at least four rental properties (this can therefore also be rooms or apartments within a house, counted as one object in the land register).
This resulted in fifteen officials. This is therefore not a representative sample for the entire sector, but a qualitative study of only a part of the officials. We cannot say that this concerns the ‘tip of the iceberg’, but we cannot exclude that it concerns many more people than we are currently naming here. The fifteen officials work for twenty housing associations throughout the country.