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Volt asks questions about the handling of housing fraud and malpractice by landlords especially among international residents.

Volt stands for a city for all its residents. Recently, we kept hearing about housing fraud and malpractice by landlords, especially towards international residents. It is about time to ask questions about this. Would you like to read the letter, addressed to the board of Mayor and Alder(wo)men? Please scroll down.

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Mart Den Heijer

Subject: Written questions Volt on addressing housing fraud and landlord malpractice especially among international residents.  

Dear Municipal executives, 

The written questions from VVD and D66 regarding the national action plan for extra student housing go to the core of the general housing crisis. Volt has been in conversation with NovUM for some time and from that conversation several important questions have come up that have not been asked before. These mainly concern students in Maastricht of non-Dutch backgrounds.

We have noted several times that students are being scammed by the promise of a room that does not exist. Volt sees good initiatives from UM to expand the housing supply. These solutions are in line with the national action plan for additional student housing and Volt wonders what is, in practice, being done against these illegal practices. Therefore, we ask you the following written questions: 

  1. What concrete action(s) has the municipal executive implemented, since September 2021, to counter fraud and malpractice by landlords towards international residents? And what responsibility do you feel that you as an executive have in resolving these malpractices?  
  2. Targeted awareness campaigns can help prevent fraud. Which awareness campaigns are currently available? If any, are these communicated structurally in English as well?
  3. Is there a contact point where victims can go to report malpractice, to get an overview of the scale of these problems? And what solution-oriented action(s) can be linked to this?
  4. These scams are getting more and more sophisticated. Fake video viewings are being held and fake contracts are being drawn up. Is the municipal executive aware of this? If so, what will the municipal executive do to curb this?
  5. Is the municipal executive aware of the discrimination in the allocation of housing based on gender, nationality, and origin? What action is the municipal executive taking to counteract this so that old and new Maastricht residents have equal opportunities in finding a place to live?  
  6. Does the municipal executive feel that there is enough coordination with the educational institutions (UM, Zuyd, Vista) regarding the current housing problems? If so, what does this coordination look like?
  7. The UM website states that you are "doing everything you can to support UM projects." Can you explain what "doing everything in your power" means? What kind of support is currently being offered?

Kind regards, 

Mart den Heijer 

Council member Volt Maastricht