I was revising a press resease at work today, which said that the Dutch city of The Hague has around 20,000 homeowners’ associations.

I mean, WTF?

Do these people like to have meetings and create paperwork just for fun? I vocalised about this fact at the office, and B. assured me that it’s not that bad, that a Dutch “Homeowners’ Association” is roughly equivalent to a body corporate. And since there are very few free-standing houses in large Dutch cities, that means that every row of town houses effectively consitutes its own homeowners’ association.
Fair enough, I thought. But the press release (which was for the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM)) talked about the government wanting to help these associations with courses, education and establishing membership fees, in order to help maintain the standard of available private housing in the Netherlands. So the government wants to busy itself with how private homeowners look after their homes.

Again, WTF?

This is private property we’re talking about. These people own their homes. Shouldn’t they be free to decide for themselves how they take care of them? I’m sure they paid enough for the house in the first place.

In an over-populated country that’s half underwater, with an enormous housing shortage and around 500km of traffic jams every day, you’d think they might have something better to do.

Oh wait: I’m just watching the news, and someone is demanding that there be laws put in place regarding the transport of dogs in cars. Did I mention people take their dogs to restaurants in this country? Oh, and they’ve just found a hundren flea-ridden guinea pigs in someone’s attic. Looks like the important issues are already being taken care of!


7 Responses to “Homeowners”

  1. 1 Arja
    10 April, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I could be totally wrong, but isn’t a Homeowner’s Association the group of owners of an apartment building, where the units share a stairwell and roof and basement and such, and thus have to share costs when repairs and renovations are in order?

  2. 2 Arja
    10 April, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    ps you’re probably watching the news on the wrong channel 🙂

  3. 3 Brentusfirmus
    10 April, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Aaaah… that would make more sense (on both counts).

  4. 4 CorrieH
    11 April, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I worked more than 10 years for the Ministry of Housing (VROM) and I know that many private owned apartment buildings are badly maintained because of bad functioning of the organisation. So I think the Minister is right. And so is Arja (hihi)

  5. 5 Brentusfirmus
    11 April, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Yes, after reading these comments I’ve realised that my frustration was misdirected. I guess I think that homeowners should be looking after their own property out of a desire to maintain its value. If the government needs to take measures to maintain standards in public housing, fair enough. But the fact is that the housing shortage in the Netherlands is so acute that the government even needs to take an interest in the quality of private housing, and I think it’s simply that fact that irritates me more than anything else. Not that they do it, but that it’s necessary.

  6. 6 spijker
    19 April, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    it is this simple:

    I live downstairs.
    You live upstairs.
    We both own our house.

    You have the roof.
    I have the drainage.
    I have the leak.
    You have the damage.

    But who’ll be paying the ferryman?

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