Photographer:Fotograaf: Stichting Keurmerk
MAASTRICHT. House owners who want to be able to put the quality label Prettig Wonen in their window have to meet all kinds of conditions, such as having linked smoke detectors, bilingual fire extinguisher signs and pictograms, door frame reinforcers on all external doors and approved tenancy contracts. The first student houses are due to receive the quality label in January 2017.
“I want to raise students’ awareness of their living situation. I hope that the somewhat more responsible students will choose a house with a quality label and stick to the rules, take better care of the house, maybe put a lick of paint on the walls now and then and generally be less of a nuisance. You can see it as a win-win situation for both students and owners”, says Huib van Gastel, president of the landlords’ association VVWM, which represents the owners of some 1500 premises around the city and is the driving force behind the quality label.
The council welcomes the initiative and has promised to assist in rolling it out. The measure should, together with the street quota - the next application for splitting up a house will be tested against a maximum percentage of rented rooms per street –, help to meet local residents’ wishes to enhance the quality of life in Maastricht’s neighbourhoods. “But the quality label won’t stop students being a nuisance at times”, Van Gastel emphasises. “They need to be educated, and that’s not easy, especially when there’s constant turnover of students and many come from different cultures.”
The quality label will go some way in this direction, however; as part of the initiative a special computer system will be installed that local residents can use to file complaints with landlords.