The Sugar Homes management is ignoring collection letters from some ninety former tenants who are demanding their deposit back.
In the Netherlands, sending a collection letter is a legal action to request payment for a past-due account from the debtor. To ensure they have received the letter, it is sent by registered email or regular registered mail. But Sugar Homes property manager Groningse Panden has not opened any of the registered emails, says Robin van den Berg-Markus with renters’ rights association Bond Precaire Woonvormen. ‘There is no response at all.’
The former tenants are angry that Sugar Homes refused to return their 750 euro deposit after they moved out at the end of the academic year in 2021. Groningse Panden said it was going to use the money to cover the high energy costs.
Of the 250 former tenants, around ninety threatened legal action in December last year if they didn’t get their deposit back before Christmas. When the money didn’t emerge in their accounts, they sent collection letters.
Marcel van der Lyke, director of property management at Groningse Panden, refers to owner STHO for comment. He says his company is not involved in the matter of the deposits.
STHO did not respond to questions from UKrant, but spokesperson Niels van Dalen let Dutch news programme Pointer know last week that they are currently calculating the actual energy costs and students can expect a final bill soon. In some cases the bill will be even higher than the deposit, he says. ‘This was the easiest solution. A lot of students have gone home, which can make it difficult to settle the account.’
Meanwhile, the tenants’ lawyers are preparing to send a final notice before moving on to a lawsuit.