Allocation rules

Dutch housing associations have to focus on building, renting and managing social housing. That is stated in the amended Dutch Housing Act. Housing associations are not allowed to rent affordable houses to everyone. They have to abide by rules.

Allocation rules based on income

Housing associations are obliged to allocate at least 90% of the vacant social housing (with a rent up to € 737.14) to their target groups.

  • The main target group of housing associations are households with an income below € 39.055 (2020 price level). The housing association must annually allocate at least 80% of the vacant social housing to that group.
  • Up until 2021, associations will be allowed to allocate 10% of the vacant housing to households with an income between € 39.055 and € 43.574 (2020 price level). However, this 10% can also be allocated to households with an income below € 39.055.

The other vacant housing – up to a maximum of 10% – may be freely allocated by housing associations. As long as the housing association complies with the requirement to allocate 80% of the vacant social housing to its main target group (incomes up to € 39.055), it may also opt to allocate all social housing to the target group (households with an income below € 43.574).

Rules for allocating the 10% vacancy margin

If housing associations do not use the 10% free allocation margin for the target group (up to € 43.574) but for other house hunters, they must give priority to certain types of households.

In the first instance, these are households that, following a decision by the municipality, have priority. However, the municipality must have laid this down in housing regulations.

Furthermore, there are other groups that are given priority. These are:

  • households with problems related to health, safety, social factors, force majeure or emergencies;
  • households that exchange houses with each other (with the permission of the association);
  • co-tenants who become tenants (with the permission of the association).

Allocation for the housing benefit target group

Housing associations must pay particular attention to households with the lowest incomes that have an income up to the limit for housing benefit. They must be allocated affordable housing below the capping limit that applies to them. That is why the amended Dutch Housing Act contains a norm on suitability. Each association must allocate suitable housing to at least 95% of households, provided that they are entitled to housing benefit based on their current income. This relates to housing with a basic rent below the capping limit.

For one and two-person households, this is € 619.01. For three and multi-person households, this is € 663.40. These amounts apply in 2020.

The standard of suitability applies to households with an income within the maximum income limits of the housing benefit. In 2020, those limits are:

  • € 23.225 for one-person households;
  • € 31.550 for multi-person households below the state pension (AOW) entitlement age;
  • € 23.175 for one-person households above the state pension entitlement age;
  • € 31.475 for multi-person households above the state pension entitlement age.