Residents of a Vindicat student house at the Gedempte Zuiderdiep attempted to screw needy students out of their money. They offered up a small, nine square metre room in their house for 800 euros a month.
The room was ‘a two-minute walk from the Vismarkt and Herestraat’, sporting a ‘big balcony on the sunny side of the Gedempte Zuiderdiep’ for only 800 euros a month, said the ad, which was published a few days ago.
But the photos in the ad showed an empty room with dated parquet flooring and a small wash basin. The room would be available until the end of October with possible extension per month.
‘Immoral and unethical’
Fourteen thousand people commented on a Facebook post that Kamernet, the biggest room renting site in the Netherlands, put up on Sunday evening. Furious students and Stadjers alike decried Kamernet as ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’.
Groningen suffers from a housing shortage, which affects students in general and international students in particular. Hundreds of them are staying in emergency housing or with people who have an extra bed or couch available. Because of that, many people on Facebook said the price of the room was ‘outrageous’.
After the commotion on Sunday and Monday, the ad was removed. It turns out, however, that it hadn’t been put up by an unscrupulous landlord, as many people assumed, but by a group of Vindicat members, who were looking to make a quick buck by capitalising on the housing shortage.
The pictures on Kamernet showed a blue wall and orange curtains and after some investigating, UKrant was able to identify the room as being in a student house located on Gedempte Zuiderdiep, owned by Bulten Vastgoed.
‘It’s all Vindicat students there. We rent the house to one person, who then divides several rooms’, a spokesperson with Bulten Vastgoed said. The normal price of a room in the house is 360 euros per month, he says, and that includes a common room, but this pricing doesn’t apply to a room that’s only nine square metres. ‘Eight hundred euros is too much.’
After UKrant told Bulten about their tenants’ behaviour, the rental agency contacted them. Initially, the students denied that they were trying to illegally sublet the room and said that the ad was a joke. Later, they claimed it had been an ‘experiment to see how hot the housing market is’.
But according to Vindicat rectrix Sanne Veken, the students admitted to her that they were actually planning to sublet the room and make some extra money. ‘They simply tried to rent the room out.’
Veken is not happy about the students’ behaviour. ‘We can’t control the actions of our members’, she says. ‘These are just a few guys and Vindicat is not to blame. But I called them and told them that this isn’t funny. You can’t use this for your own gain.’
Bulten Vastgoed is angry, as well. ‘Especially when we have students here with their parents crying at the door.’