Housing associations

Many dwellings in the Netherlands are owned by housing associations. These are organisations that let or sell accommodation and provide homes for older people and people with a disability.

Social housing and private sector housing

Rented housing is provided by the social housing sector and the private or non-subsidised sector. There are about three million rented homes in the Netherlands. About 75% of them are owned by housing associations. Social housing is cheaper because it is subsidised by the state. The government sets the rules for the allocation of social housing.

Housing associations are also responsible for:

  • housing older people, people with a disability and those needing assisted housing;
  • building and letting social property such as schools and sports facilities;
  • appointing caretakers and neighbourhood managers;
  • maintaining houses and the immediate surroundings, such as alleyways and parking spaces;
  • selling rented properties to tenants and other house seekers.

Quality of life in the neighbourhood

Housing associations are partly responsible for the quality of life in a neighbourhood. They prevent crime and remove graffiti, help organise street parties and other activities and provide money for play areas and sports facilities. The quality of life in a neighbourhood is also strengthened by the construction of schools and community centres.

Cooperation between housing associations and civil society organisations

The government plans to simplify legislation and encourage cooperation between housing associations, home care organisations and other civil society organisations. They will then be able to coordinate their activities, for example by tailoring their services to provide timely care in old people’s homes.

Complaints about housing associations

Tenants can submit complaints to their housing association’s complaints committee or to the Rent Tribunal (in Dutch). 

 Complaints may relate to:

  • maintenance;
  • service charges;
  • rent;
  • nuisance.