800 euros per month for 20 square metres is extortionate
The Groningen Student Union (GSb) has exoressed its ‘surprise’ at the prices of tiny apartments in the new short stay complex ‘BlockHouse’, on the Reitemakersrijge in Groningen. Tenants (naturally, the target market is International Students) will be asked to pay 800 euros per month for 20 square meters.
“That is twice as much as the law allows for a ‘normal’ studio that is not rented out for a short stay,” says GSb chairman Marinus Jongman. As reported by the GIC.
BlockHouse is a new studio complex on the Reitemakersrijge in the former KPN telephone exchange building. In 2017, it was decided that 200 student residences would be built, the first studios will be completed in August and then students can move in, but renovations is will continue until December.
The studios are delivered furnished and it’s not just students that will be ripped off by the developers, either, with ‘business studios’ intended for expats starting at nearly 1,300 euros per month.
According to the GSb, international students often do not know what they are signing up for with short stay contracts. “Those international students come here and then unknowingly sign a contract in which they have zero rights and pay sky-high rents every month.”
The studios start at eight hundred euros per month. “That is about twice as much as would be allowed with a normal rental contract. This is really astonishingly much. Forty euros per square meter per month.”
Short stay contracts
Short stay contracts are notorious in Groningen because tenants have no rent protection and cannot cancel their contract. For example, prices are often charged that are far above the legal maximum for normal rental homes, says the GSb. “Once those international students are here, they find out that they pay way too much compared to other students, then they end up with our rental team and we have to tell them that they can’t do anything about the price and they can’t get out of the contract.”
The Municipality of Groningen said in 2020 that short stay contracts should no longer be allowed for these types of cases and has proposed a policy to curb this type of abuse.
According to the council, short stay contracts should not be used for more than four months, and any tenancy longer than that should use a legally-protected contract.
“We really don’t understand this. How can you ask 800 euros for a shoebox?”, says Jongman.
Illustration by Thomas Ansell