The municipality has revoked the housing permit for the historic Rikkers-Lubbershuis on the Heresingel, which is housing 56 international students.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
The property, which used to be an assisted living facility, has been used as student housing since last year, following the wide-spread housing crisis in the city of Groningen that left scores of students effectively homeless.
The student residents allegedly caused so much disturbance to the local area that neighbours submitted a formal notice of objection to the municipality, according to Sikkom. A committee at the municipality has deemed the complains ” well-founded”, and housing permit required for students to live there has been withdrawn. This means that the student residents now effectively live in the building illegally while the municipality and the Schove Group (who own the building) are looking for a solution.
Hans Coenraads, a spokesperson for the municipality, said that students may continue to live there until such time as suitable alternatives can be found, but he could not give a time estimate for any new developments.
Prior to being used to house students, the enormous building was a home to nine elderly people, however the building soon became ill-suited to that use. It was then put up for sale and bought by the Schove Group, a Groningen-based property fund that has been amassing property in the city since the 1960s. The group converted it into rooms for international students. To this end, the municipality issued a two to five year permit which has now been revoked following complaints of parties in the garden, loud music, and general inconvenience.
Schove Group turned over the management of the property to StudentStay, who, according to students living in the building, are rather unresponsive to e-mails and phone calls. StudentStay initially informed the Dagblad van het Noorden in September 2018 that they knew nothing of complaints from neighbours, before filling the Rikkers-Lubberhuis with CCTV cameras, leading to several tenants feeling they were being spied upon.
Students living in the building suggested to Sikkom that they were not aware of a hearing, nor of the scale of nuisance that their neighbours allegedly faced. StudentStay were unavailable for comment, whilst Sikkom were unable to speak to the Schove Group.