More housing suitable for older people

Every year between now and 2021, the Netherlands will need around 44,000 extra homes that are suitable for older people. New properties will need to be built, but existing homes will also need to be adapted. How will the government ensure that there is enough suitable housing for older people?

Municipal agreements on adapting existing homes

Local authorities can make agreements with housing associations on adapting existing homes. These agreements vary from one municipality to another.

The municipality first identifies the needs and wishes of its older residents, and then asks housing associations what they can do to meet these needs.

Facts and figures about suitable housing and care for older people, indexed by region, are available at http://www.zorgopdekaart.nl (in Dutch).

Financial assistance for home adaptations

Older people who want to make adaptations to their home because of a chronic illness or disability may be eligible for financial assistance under the Social Support Act (WMO 2015) or Chronic Care Act (WLZ). Possible adaptations include:

  • removing doorsteps and thresholds
  • installing a toilet on the same floor as the bedroom
  • fitting special equipment, like a stairlift or a fall detector alarm system.

See also What can I do to make my home future-proof?

Allocation of suitable housing by the municipality

Municipalities are allowed to designate housing exclusively for older people. You need a housing permit from your municipality for this category of housing.

The 2012 ‘Investing in the Future Monitor’ showed that only around half of rental properties suitable for older people are occupied by people over 55. Municipalities and housing associations can make agreements on how to allocate rented properties that become vacant. There are also other ways for older people to find suitable housing, for example through a specialist estate agent.

Equal treatment for people with a disability or chronic illness

Those letting or selling a house cannot refuse people with a disability or chronic illness. This is set out in the Equal Treatment (Disabled and Chronically Ill People) Act (WGBH/CZ). Occupants are also entitled to adjustments to help cope with their disability or illness. For example, they must be allowed to park a mobility scooter in a porch or hallway.

Are you experiencing discrimination because of your disability or illness? If so, you can submit a complaint to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights on (030) 888 3888 or at info@mensenrechten.nl.

Vacant places in residential care

Because more and more care is being provided at home, residential care facilities sometimes have vacant rooms. Some care homes have these adapted and rent them out as independent accommodation for older people. Government grants are available for this. For each adapted accommodation unit, the care home receives a discount of €10,000 on the landlord levy. The new tenants live independently but buy care services from the care home