On the housing search site Funda, Rik Vulders and his girlfriend saw a nice apartment in Utrecht, on the Amsterdamsestraatweg.
“We only found out later that it was possible to bid on the rent,” he tells RTL Z. “But anyway, the rental market is now such that you don’t have much to choose from. That’s why we are, with the necessary skepticism, yes. went to the scheduled viewing.”
The apartment disappointed Vulders. Not all the windows were double-glazed and, even more annoying, the toilet was so small that even his girlfriend, who was six feet tall, barely fit in when the door was closed. He is also not pleased with the rental employee who was present. “She could hardly answer questions about the house.”
“If we were the only ones interested, it would have been different,” he says. “It can happen that a house does not meet your expectations, but that you would also have to start bidding on it…”
The house that Vulders was interested in was offered for rent via Rebid, a rental platform where both tenants and landlords can go. Tenants can respond to houses and indicate which monthly rent they want to pay (from a minimum amount set by the landlord).
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the system. There is disgrace on Twitter:
“It is not a bidding process, it is an open proposal from a tenant”, reacts Daniël Raadschelders, co-founder of Rebid.
Rental ‘made transparent’
“Landlords can also choose to indicate a fixed price. Moreover, the proposed rent alone is never leading. We also look at other factors, such as income.”
Rebid isn’t alone with this system, he says. “We see that it happens a lot with traditional brokers, that they let a candidate make a rental proposal behind the backs of other candidates. It happens on a very large scale. We have made that rental process transparent. Even if rental is only a small part of our organization. We mainly manage a lot of homes.”
‘Restrict rents in the private sector’
“For a year or two, we have occasionally received reports about tenants who have been outbid and as a result see a home pass by,” says spokesperson Marcel Trip of the Woonbond. “That is done through brokers and landlords.”
The tenants’ association has no plans for a hotline. They do think that rents in the free sector should also be restricted via a points system.
“The limit for that system is now 752 euros, above that you can ask anything you want. If you apply the points system, rents may have to be lowered.”
“Our name makes it look like we are facilitating bidding,” says Raadschelders of Rebid. “That is not what we want nor what is happening, but I understand that that can be the primary reaction of people. I also understand that there is an unwise shortage of rental housing. That is a complicated situation for which there is no ready-made solution , but for which we do our best to think about it.”
Vacancy ‘is the most expensive’
Councilschelders cannot say one-two-three how many homes have been let nationally through their platform in the past eighteen months. “It’s not thousands, but we’re growing every month.”
Due to the corona crisis, the rents of the rented homes are not higher, but mainly lower than landlords had in mind, according to the co-founder. “The price on the website is often lower than the desired rental price, in order to get the apartment rented out quickly. Vacancies are the most expensive for the landlord.”
The corona measures are now being considerably relaxed. The housing market continues to improve. In the case of rental housing, expats are gradually returning to the Randstad, driving up prices. “There is an upward trend visible, although we cannot yet see how significant it is,” says Raadschelders.
75 euros more
As far as Rik is concerned, the upward trend is visible. “The apartment I viewed was on Funda for 920 euros. The highest offer on Rebid was 1245 euros.” That is correct, says Raadschelders, but the apartment ‘was finally rented out for 995 euros’.