Former Sugarhomes tenants have criticised STHO, the company that owns the housing project, after it said it would be keeping their €750 rental deposit, the Ukrant reports.
The students who have moved out of their rented accommodation on Suikerlaan this summer and were expecting to receive their full deposit back were told by the landlord that they would still be charged “to compensate for high energy costs.”
Earlier this year, Sugarhomes tenants told the Northern Times they had received a notice from Groningse Panden, the company that operates the container units, that their power bills would more than triple.
“Yesterday we received an email saying the energy component of our rent will rise from €80 to €280 per month,” one international student wrote in an email to our editors at the time.
Groningse Panden informed the residents that the retroactive rate increase was due to the spike in energy prices in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.
“I didn’t expect they would use the same reasons as before to not return our deposit. I am really angry,” a 24-year-old master student at the Faculty of Arts told the Ukrant.
The former (and some current) tenants believe that withholding monies from the deposit constitutes a breach of contract and are considering legal action against the landlord.
Sugarhomes is a housing project that consists of 250 short stay apartment units that were built on the grounds of a former industrial site. The student housing site is no stranger to scandals. In August, 2018, Sikkom reported that the universities in Groningen were unpleasantly surprised to hear that Rizoem, the company behind the project, had been charging excessive fees to cover expenses, such as furnishing the room, that the company should have been paying itself.