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Threats to the Dutch Unitary Rental Market


  • Marja Elsinga
  • Marietta Haffner
  • Harry Van Der Heijden


Social rental housing has once again captured a strong position on the Dutch political agenda. This has happened especially since the European Commission sent a letter to the Dutch government indicating that the Dutch social rental sector was not considered EU-proof from the viewpoint of the European Union's competition policy. The letter coincided with criticisms from Dutch politicians that housing associations had not been performing well enough for some time, given their abundant resources. However, in an international context, the Dutch social rental sector is often regarded as a good system for providing affordable housing to those who need it, without the sector being marginalized and stigmatized. Jim Kemeny has classified this market as one in which the social rental sector in due course competes with the private rental sector on equal or almost equal terms as a unitary rental market. The starting point of this paper is whether the achievement of a unitary rental sector is threatened by the EU's competition policy. It will also discuss two other possible threats to the future of the Dutch unitary rental market: the threat to take surplus capital away from housing associations and have government decide on what to invest; and the attractiveness of home-ownership to households. We conclude that the character of the Dutch unitary rental sector is indeed under threat, although mostly by stealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Marja Elsinga & Marietta Haffner & Harry Van Der Heijden, 2008. "Threats to the Dutch Unitary Rental Market," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 21-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:8:y:2008:i:1:p:21-37
    DOI: 10.1080/14616710701817141

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