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In 2011, Dutch municipalities requested supplementary legal enforcement instruments to tackle rogue landlords and substandard housing. The national government implemented…
In 2011, Dutch municipalities requested supplementary legal enforcement instruments to tackle rogue landlords and substandard housing. The national government implemented new legislation granting municipalities’ local authorities more legal instruments in 2015. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the application and effectiveness of these instruments.
Using both quantitative and qualitative (legal) empirical research methods, this study establishes the frequency these instruments are used and the manner they are applied in practice to determine their role in limiting abusive practices of rogue landlords.
By comparing legislation and policies with their enforcement, the authors pinpoint differences between the law in the books and the law in practice and argue that the legal instruments have a stronger effect on the informal power than on formal power of local authorities. Moreover, the paper shows that the shift of responsibility from the Public Prosecutions Office to local authorities has left the Public Prosecutions Office disinterested, feeling that it no longer has to deal with substandard housing violations at all, therefore leaving the repeat offenders free to continue their activities with minor consequences.
The paper presents original data on the ways governments address substandard housing and rogue landlords. This is the first study that analyses the fight against substandard housing in the Dutch context. Although centred on legislation and procedures in The Netherland, the paper’s findings are relevant in other jurisdictions facing similar issues.