Students who are living in the Sugarhomes received a less-than-welcome surprise last week when they opened their inboxes to find that their power bills more than tripled.
“Yesterday we received an email saying the energy component of our rent will rise from €80 to €280 per month,” one tenant told the Northern Times in an email on Saturday.
Groningse Panden, the company that operates the container units, informed the residents that the retroactive rate increase was due to the spike in energy prices in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.
“Since the energy price has increased by a factor of 3.5, unfortunately we’ll also have to increase the advance on energy costs by this factor. This means that with effect from 1 January 2022, the advance on energy costs per month per studio will be increased to € 280,00 per month. This means that the total monthly costs per studio increases by € 200,00,” the company notified the tenants in an email.
The students feel, however, that such a steep increase is unjustified.
“We feel this is unreasonable and it’s likely to leave many of us unable to afford our rent meaning we will be forced to become homeless,” one affected resident writes, while another one calls on the public “to raise a voice for students in the so called `Student capital of the Netherlands´ who are [being] economically taken apart”.
Sugarhomes is a housing project that consists of 250 short stay apartment units that were assembled at the former sugar beet factory grounds. 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 tenants to cover expenses, such as furnishing the room, that the company should have been paying themselves.