Vesteda tenant letter on rental policy 2020
Vesteda is offering tailor-made solutions, plus a number of generic measures, to help tenants who are experiencing acute financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis. For instance, Vesteda will limit the rent increase for all its tenants on 1 July. This year we added a tenant letter with this information to our annual rent increase letter, which we send to all Vesteda tenants at this time of the year.
On 25 March, Vesteda sent a message to all tenants announcing that we would take appropriate measures for tenants in acute financial difficulties. In addition to tailor-made solutions, such as the postponement or even cancellation of rental payments, Vesteda is also taking other measures. For instance, we have put a freeze on evictions due to rent in arrears situations and we will not be charging collection costs; plus any temporary rental contracts will be extended if possible. “And if tenants contact us with other problems, we will also find a solution”, says Astrid Schlüter, director Operations. “And that will continue to be the case.”
Solidarity as guiding principle
Vesteda has consciously chosen to look for individual tailor-made solutions for tenants in acute financial difficulties. “At this time, our focus is indeed primarily on this group of tenants, with solidarity our guiding principle. After all, the coronavirus is not just creating social unrest; it is also creating financial uncertainty for some of our tenants”, says Schlüter. Following our message of 25 March, 250 tenants got in touch with us, mainly freelance workers and small business owners. That is 1% of our total tenants. Schlüter: “This number will undoubtedly increase if the coronavirus measures are extended, but the good news is that the large majority of our tenants still have a regular income via their work or their pension.”
Limited rent increases
Vesteda does not want to forget tenants with a regular income. They may not be facing acute financial difficulties, but Vesteda wants to address their needs, too. This is why on 1 July we will increase rents by a lower percentage than contractually agreed. Schlüter: “Rents for regulated rental homes will only be subject to a correction for inflation, while rents for liberalised rental sector homes will be increased by inflation plus a maximum of 1%. In effect, our investors, such as pension funds and insurance firms, have consciously decided to accept a lower return and act in a socially responsible manner.”
In the Netherlands, residential rents can only be increased once a year. At Vesteda, this annual rent increase takes place on 1 July. This year, Vesteda is waiving a maximum rent increase for the third year in a row. Healthy returns are important, as pension funds and insurance firms use this rent (increase) to provide inflation proof incomes for retired workers in sectors such as education, healthcare and the public sector.
With this rental policy, Vesteda supports the joint statement drawn up by the industry organisation for institutional investors.