New contact point for problems with housing benefit

In a couple of months, lots of students will lose their independent address – they will start sharing their address with others. The Landelijke Studenten Vakbond (Dutch Student Union) anticipates problems with the rent subsidy and has opened a contact point.

From 1 January 2017, ‘non-independent’ rooms will not have their own address anymore. For example, students whose address is 84-A or 84-F, will simply live at number 84. From next year onwards, everyone living in student accommodation will have the same address.

This could have consequences on the housing benefit. One of the requirements is that the applicant’s income is not too high. Together, the students may earn too much, and will have to face the consequences.

As early as 2013, when it was announced, student housing associations and the Dutch Student Union warned that there would be problems with the ruling. At the beginning of this year, they came up with a solution – to make a separate, country-wide register of ‘non-independent units’. But Minister Blok saw no benefits too this, it was too expensive he said.

Jarmo Berkhout, chair of the Dutch Student Union, cannot predict how many students will be affected, but he is holding his breath. This is why there is now a contact point where students can go for complaints about housing benefits. To provide good information, the Union has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions.

Apart from this, the Tax Authority wants to prevent ‘households’ from being incorrectly merged and is taking note of the addresses. The system must clearly show who lives in which residence and whether he/she really has the right to housing benefit.

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