Vesteda goodwill scheme offers support to retired tenants

From 1 July of this year, the rents for social housing will be increased by up to 2.3%. For rental homes in the liberalised sector, rent increases have been maximised at 3.3%. This year, Vesteda is freezing the rent of pensioners whose pension income is not indexed. These tenants must meet a number of conditions and can apply to Vesteda until 1 July.

"Over a quarter of our tenants are retired and many of them have to live on a pension that has not been indexed for years," said Vesteda COO Astrid Schlüter. The high inflation and energy prices have an even greater impact on this group of tenants. Their income has not been adjusted for inflation for many years, while the prices of lots of products and services are increasing. Various boards of tenants' organisations have previously asked us to spare pensioners from the annual rent increase. With the help of know-how and expertise of the National Institute for Family Finance Information (Nibud), we have actively taken up this request. We want to use this pilot to prevent tenants with a pension and little equity from having to worry about their housing situation.”

Conditions for participation in the goodwill scheme

The rent of retired tenants will not be increased this year if they meet a number of criteria. Tenants must have reached retirement age and have been renting from Vesteda for at least five years. We have also set conditions on their income (maximum € 45,000) and assets (maximum € 30,000). Finally, these tenants must be able to demonstrate that their pension income has not been indexed. All Vesteda tenants will receive an information leaflet, as Vesteda has no insight into the income and assets of its tenants due to privacy laws.

High inflation, higher costs

"For that matter, in recent years we have advocated legislation to limit maximum rent increases both as Vesteda and via our industry organisation," said Astrid Schlüter. This resulted in the current agreement of inflation + 1% for liberalised housing. With the current high inflation rates, it is understandable that the minister is thinking about a long-term agreement for a social responsible annual rent increase. According to the consumer price index, inflation was 9.7% last month and according to the Dutch government’s Economic Policy Analysis Bureau (CPB) inflation will climb to more than 5% this year. At the same time, we are seeing our costs coming under pressure. The costs of management, maintenance, renovation and sustainability measures increased by about 10% last month."

Renovating and making older homes more sustainable

"Despite this, we continue to invest in renovating homes with a D, E, F and G label and making them more sustainable. Our ambition is to for 99% of our homes to have a green energy label by 2024. We are now well on our way: 93% of our homes now have a green energy label, which reduces the energy consumption of our tenants. This is another way we are working towards affordable living."