Housing shortage and bleak practices of landlords

  • 16 May 2024
  • No comments

The housing shortage for students has been a major problem in Groningen for some time. (1) With thousands of students flooding into the city each year to study at the University of Groningen (RUG) and Hanze University Groningen, the demand for affordable and quality housing is growing. The supply seems unable to keep up with this demand, leaving students facing a range of problems. The problems range from high rents to poor living conditions. Lately, it appears that, more problems are cropping up, namely landlords who want to remodel student housing. However, they cannot evict students because of the high level of tenant protection. The new trick of landlords: putting ex-convicts, vagrants or migrant workers in the student houses to bully the students away. (2) In addition, students are sometimes evicted without mercy under the pretext that the landlord wants to renovate. Later it turns out that’s not the case at all and the landlord only wants to rent the house to other landlords for a higher rent. Students are also excluded from a change in the law that will end temporary rental contracts. (3)

Groningen is a popular student city. The number of students flocking to Groningen for higher education is large. This trend is fueled in part by the university’s international reputation, but also by the appeal of the city itself, with its vibrant culture, vibrant nightlife and diverse community. However, this constant influx has created a downside: a chronic shortage of affordable housing. Demand continues to rise because, under current legislation, the university is not allowed to refuse foreign students. (4) Research has shown that fewer and fewer students are living away from home. Compared to 2015, the year the loan system was introduced, the drop in the number of students living away from home is significant. (5) Nevertheless, this does not solve the housing shortage.

Settling for less

The shortage of student housing has created downward pressure on available housing and upward pressure on rents. Wealth owners and real estate developers see the lucrative opportunities and have steadily driven up prices, forcing students to spend more and more of their limited budgets on housing. (6) For many, this means having to settle for small, often poorly maintained rooms far from their faculty and the city center. It also appears that landlords increasingly prefer to see the students disappear so that they can renovate the buildings to make even more money from the housing. From the Ukrant article in which several students were interviewed, it does not appear to be a problem that happened once. The housing association is aware of these practices carried out by landlords. However, it is still difficult to act against the problem; after all, the landlord can determine who becomes the new tenant. Going to the police does not help.

The impact on student welfare

The lack of suitable housing has far-reaching implications for student well-being. Research by the Groningen Student Union shows that as many as 98.2% of Groningen students experience stress. (7) Largely caused by academic stress, energy crisis and the housing crisis. Prolonged stress due to financial concerns and the search for affordable housing can lead to decreased academic performance and increased risk of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. In addition, unstable housing conditions can lead to feelings of isolation and lack of connection to the community.


Although the student housing shortage problem in Groningen is complex and deep-rooted, there are some steps that can be taken to improve the situation. One of the most obvious solutions is to increase the availability of affordable student housing. Increasing the availability is difficult to bring about. Another alternative, such as converting containers into student flats, are being worked on. However, not all students are satisfied with these solutions  either. (8) A solution to the housing problem is not there yet.

The serious shortage of affordable student housing is caused by a constant influx of students and a lack of suitable supply. In addition to high rents and poor living conditions, students face new problems, such as landlords seeking to evict students by placing ex-prisoners or migrant workers in student housing. These practices, along with raising rents and exploiting the limited availability of housing, have a devastating effect on students’ well-being. This leads to stress, academic problems and mental health problems. Despite some initiatives such as converting containers into student apartments, the housing shortage remains a persistent problem with no immediate solution.


Cato Timmermans

1. Unknown | RTV Noord | 7 september 2022 | Available:

2. Marianne Vriesema en Bente Strijbosch | Ukracht | 9 april 2024 | Available:

3. Unknown | LSVB | 11 maart 2024 | Beschikbaar:

4. Unknown | RTV Noord | 7 september 2022 | Available:

5. Tom Veenstra | OOG | 7 september 2023 | Available:,


6. Marianne Vriesema en Bente Strijbosch | Ukracht | 9 april 2024 | Available:

7. Jaron Bergsma | OOG | 2 november 2023 | Available:

8. Unknown | Pointer KRO NCRV | 21 januari 2023 | Available:

JFV Groningen


Thank you for your comment. It will be shown after approval.

    There are no comments yet