Real estate company Xior Student Housing has raised the monthly rent for tenants in Eendrachtskade 2, Groningen, by €125, citing “rising energy prices.” The landlord notified the tenants about the new rent via email on September 20, and two days later sent out new invoices.
The company suggested the rent increase was in the interests of the tenants, so next year they won’t have to pay exorbitant power bills. Xior cited the global shortages of gas and the spike in energy prices as the main reason for the rate increase.
Xior Student Housing owns three buildings in Groningen with over a thousand apartment units. The student home on Eendrachtskade 2 is the company’s most recent project.
Short term increase
Ciel Wang, 26, is a Master’s student in film and contemporary audiovisual media at the University of Groningen. She moved into Xior’s 19m² studio apartment in the summer. Wang agreed to a monthly payment of €800, of which €65 was for energy and water. These costs have now risen to €190.
Wang did not expect any increase in such a short period of time. “Receiving this communication was confusing. I thought the fees in the contract I signed already reflected the current situation in the energy market,” she says. “It is difficult to find a rational explanation for the timing of this decision,” Wang added.
The student discussed the issue with other people who live in the housing project. Many complained to the company, inquiring whether the upcoming energy price cap planned by the Dutch Government may help reduce utility costs from January 2023.
Wang, too, sent an email to the Xior management. In its reply, the company specified that Eendrachtskade 2 is gas-free, and the price increase is for electricity, which has “grown tenfold over the last year.” Xior acknowledged the decision as a “big inconvenience,” stating that the property had no other alternatives.
The consequences of this increase could be tough for Wang. “I am living on my deposit, and unless things change within the next few months, I may leave Groningen by the end of the academic year,” she says. The student already has a Master’s in Journalism and wanted to get an additional degree. “It was supposed to be nice and easy. I planned my budget before moving, and I can’t go over that. It’s frustrating,” Wang said.
“Xior is known for charging too much for service costs,” Marcel Trip, Senior Advocate at Woonbond, said. Woonbond is an organization that represents the interests of tenants. “It is possible that the rise in service costs is due to energy prices, but Xior has to prove that,” Trip explained.
The advocate said that tenants can challenge the rent increase by referring it to the Rent Assessment Committee (Huurcommissie). The Committee handles disputes over property based on the current market values. “At the moment, we are aiding twelve students in a court case over service bills because Xior refuses to abide by a Huurcommissie ruling,” Trip said.
The Northern Times contacted Xior for comments but had received no response as of press time.