Utrecht: Eight apartment flats squatted on Kanaleneiland

20160416_Utrecht_Eight_apartment_flats_squatted_on_KanaleneilandLast week, eight apartment flats were squatted in Kanaleneiland. The flatslocated at Monnetlaan (within the so-called “Eiland 8” block) are the property of the city of Utrecht, and are managed by housing corporations Mitros and Portaal who want to transform the flats into free housing sector apartments for rent and for sale.
The squatters disagree with the way former renters have been treated, and are against the gentrification of the city.
Before, there were 224 social renting apartments in this blok, which the former renters had to leave in due to demolition, as a result of the long-term neglect of the homes. These plans are part of a big-scale gentrification that is taking place in Utrecht (and the rest of the Netherlands).
Based on the “leegstandswet” (“vacancy law”). The temporary renters put into the appartments, were promised, in writing, to be allowed to stay until demolition. This is how project Eiland 8 came into being, realized by Wolf huisvestingsgroep and Sophies Kunstprojecten.
Eventually, there didn’t seem to be sufficient money from the city of Utrecht to be able to build the new constructions so, the project was then sold to the Swiss-Quatarese asset management company Aventicum, that hired construction company Heijmans to have the places refurbished thoroughly.
The first flat is now finished, and the new renters have moved in. Yet it can still take a long time before they have complete the last block. This is obvious due to the hiring of FMT (another anti-squat company) by the housing corporations, in order to “protect” the buildings in the remaining two streets.
According to the squatters, Mitros and Portaal are playing a dirty game, purely in the name profits, in these times of increasing scarcity in the social housing sector. Furthermore, renters have been kept at bay with dubious renting contracts. Like, for example, the inhabitants renting via Wolf could not keep their homes with FMT (the new anti-squat company), because of the fact that one is lawfully entitled to get a regular renting contract with adequate housing rights after having lived in the same place longer than five years.
The squatters think this is ridiculous; not only have the original inhabitants of the social housing flats been the victims of gentrification, but also the former inhabitants of Eiland 8 have been properly screwed over. Kanaleneiland is just one example in Utrecht and other cities in the Netherlands (Europe and the whole world) where gentrification does anything but “renew”, but where people are utterly chased out of the city for corporate financial gain, at the expense of their rights.

source: https://www.indymedia.nl/node/32980

Update 18/04/2016 – 13:36
Additionally the temporary renters were promised (in the rental contract) that they could stay until the buildings would be demolished. However, those temporary renters (who wanted to stay) were notified that if they would do so, there would be charges and fines as much as 500 euro for each day that they would stay longer than the end of their contract. The reason that was given for the eviction was that the permit of the temporary rent had expired. The city council with it’s burocracy is in this way preventing the renters from getting access to the rights that generally apply for renters.
In the neighbourhood letter, sent by Jesse Flinke, director of GEM Kanaleneiland C.V. KvK nr. 8189 224 24, it states that the plans for renovation will start in October 2016. Further it states, that the other empty houses will be taken into use as soon as possible. Those houses are not inhabitablel now and sealed off with metal doors to prevent squatting.