The Right to housing is guaranteed by the Dutch Constitution. According to Art. 22§2, it shall be the concern of the authorities to provide sufficient living accommodation. Some aspects of the right to housing are also legally regulated.
In terms of the Council of Europe, The Netherlands ratified the Revised European Social Charter on 03/05/2006, accepting 97 of its 98 paragraphs, including the Article 31 on the right to housing. It accepted the Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints on 03/05/2006, but has not yet made a declaration enabling national NGOs to submit collective complaints.
According to the Housing Act of 1901, housing associations are funded and regulated by the State to ensure that they meet national housing needs and increase the supply of affordable housing. Over the years, the associations have increasingly financed the buildings on their own and the government now provides individual subsidies to families that cannot afford the market rate rents.
Housing allowances are also being provided. These are regulated by the 1997 Housing Allowance Act, entitling all qualifying tenants who apply for the allowance to receive it. Moreover, tenants are in the position to challenge unreasonable rents through the Rent Tribunal Act. According to this Act, if a tenant chooses not to accept the rent set by his landlord, the tenant can ask the Rent Tribunal to set the rent (determined by a number of points based on the property’s size and quality). In addition, the Rent Tribunal Act mandates that rent can be increased for inflation once a year by an amount set by the Minister of Public Housing.
Few collective complaints have been initiated against the Netherlands. The Council of Europe recently ruled to accept a collective complaint filed by FEANTSA in the summer of 2012 (European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) v The Netherlands Complaint No. 86/2012), which concerns limitations to the ability of the homesless population to access emergency shelter due to residency restrictions, narrowly defined admissibility criteria and limitations on the ability of migrant workers to find housing.
- National report on the Art. 31 (Page 56 to 68)
- Conclusion from the Committee on Social Rights (Page 31 to 39)