The Rent Assessment Committee has been struggling with major backlogs for years and since last year the Committee has therefore been inviting less and less tenants and landlords to appear for their disputes at a hearing. Vulnerable tenants will be the victims of this, warn individual members of the Rent Assessment Committee. This is evident from research by journalistic platform Investico.
The Rent Assessment Committee is a national government body that has to settle disputes between tenants and landlords. The committee deals with matters concerning maintenance defects, such as leaking roofs or mold on the walls, and also assesses the rent. In the current overheated rental market, these are higher than allowed.
Seating locations disappear
In such cases, tenants can turn to the Rent Assessment Committee, but at the beginning of this year there were still almost 10,000 cases waiting to be dealt with. This backlog is the result of years of contraction of the Rent Assessment Committee budget: in ten years it fell from 23 to 14 million euros. 34 of the 49 hearing locations disappeared and the number of committee members decreased from 100 to 40.
In order to work more efficiently and thus make up for arrears, the committee introduced a new working method last year. Instead of inviting tenants and landlords to a hearing, the committee only judges on the basis of a paper file.
This now happens in more than half of the cases. As a positive result, the backlog had fallen to 7,500 cases by mid-year.
But efficiency also has a downside, warn members of the Rent Assessment Committee. In an internal advice they call the working method “unlawful” and “unsustainable”. The Rent Assessment Committee ignored the internal criticism.
Organizations that assist tenants have also seen that the quality of the statements has deteriorated since the new working method was introduced. They increasingly call the Rental Committee a “stamping machine” and speak of unjustified rejections.
In a response to Investico, the Rent Assessment Committee denies that the quality suffers from the current working method. Moreover, according to the committee, the arrears are not the result of falling budgets.