During the General Political Reflections today, there was much to do about the landlord levy. PvdA, GroenLinks and other parties want to abolish them. The VVD expressed its willingness to talk about adjustment of the levy in the debate.
The landlord levy was introduced as a crisis measure during the economic crisis in 2013. Housing corporations made a lot of profit at the time and therefore it was seen as a good way to generate more government revenues.
It was also a way to keep housing corporations in check, says Peter Boelhouwer, professor of housing market at TU Delft. The corporations had many financial issues in the years before, including debt, fraud and fuss about a director with a Maserati.
Who does the levy apply to?
The landlord fee is paid for the most part by housing corporations and only applies to homes with rent below the rent allowance limit of 752 euros per month. The levy is about 0.5 percent on the average WOZ value of the homes. However, the landlord must have more than fifty rental properties. Individuals also have to pay the levy if they meet the conditions.
This year, the levy yields nearly 1.9 billion euros, more than 400 million more than it was budgeted, according to the Million Note. Since 2013, the levy has earned the Treasury more than €12 billion. Some of the corporations can get back if they invest in sustainability and new construction. But thats what corporations see as a boxed cigar.
Mohamed Baba, chairman of the board of the Hague Wonen corporation with more than 21,000 homes, says that the abolition of the levy gives the corporation space to rebuild more than a hundred homes a year. “The money now relies on the resources a corporation has to play a role in the housing crisis. And the task is so big.”
Aedes, the association of housing corporations, wants the tax to disappear so that more houses can be built and preserved. “This tax on social rental housing obstructs corporations in their core task, namely housing.” Aedes has been against the levy since its introduction.
24 billion deficit
Research conducted by the Home Office last year revealed that housing corporations would fall short of EUR 24 billion in 2035 if current policies continue. In the coming years, the corporations can be internal on equity, but as of 2024, the first corporations would be financially crashing.
Professor Boelhouwer: “It is clear that corporations are short of money in the future. They stand for big assains. They need to moderate, make the rent more sustainable and build new homes. That all needs to be funded.”
In a debate this summer, Minister Ollongren, responsible for housing, said that the landlord levy for housing corporations is no longer sustainable. “Their investment space is being eroded.” She thought something should change in the short term.
The argument for the levy is that it prevents a gap in the budget. Otherwise, the lost earnings will have to be recovered from elsewhere. In addition, the VVD was the only party in the election programme to hold on to the levy and became the biggest party in the elections.
However, the party is now willing to negotiate, although the complete removal of the landlord levy goes too far to the VVD. In any case, it seems that the levy is going to be adjusted. How and to what extent that will happen is still unclear.