Pano accompanied several prospective renters on their search for affordable accommodation. People who qualify for social housing usually end up on a waiting list and are thus obliged to try their luck on the private market first. Many prospective renters faced the choice of accepting poor accommodation or renting above their budget.
Rony’s been living in accommodation that his municipality has declared unfit for human occupation. He’s been without heating and hot water for two years. Pano discovered this is the plight of quite a few people as competition is rife on the cheapest segment of the rented accommodation market.
Renters should not pay more than a third of their income in rent to ensure they can meet the other demands on their purse. Estate agents call for renters who are in financial straits to receive support. The Flemish authorities provide grants and subsidies, but according to Joy Verstichelen of the Renters’ Association too few people are getting help: “We know that 30% of renters don’t have sufficient income left once they have paid their rent. Only 3% are receiving support. 27% are not.”
Prof Wim Van Lancker, an expert in social policy, says support helps like e.g. in the Netherlands: “There a lot larger group receives support. This ensures more people on low income can make ends meet in the Netherlands than in Flanders.”