The deal is almost done: the Guesthouse is to be privatised. Maastricht University will no longer offer furnished rooms to foreign students. If, at the beginning of next year, the response to the European call for tenders is a positive one, the UM will transfer the task. The head of the General and Technical Services, Eric Klekamp, reported this to a committee of the university council last week. According to Klekamp student housing is not part of the core tasks of the university or its services. Besides, if all goes well, outsourcing will lead to savings for the UM. The university now pays six hundred thousand euro annually to ensure that sufficient rooms are available. The amount includes funding for periodic vacancies. This ‘availability contribution’ cannot be abolished completely, says Klekamp, but the amount can be reduced considerably. At any rate, it is legally prohibited to pass the contribution on to the students in the form of rent.
The UM is not intending to get rid of buildings. Outsourcing concerns management, bookings and maintenance. The UM currently rents the buildings from housing corporations and Teikyo. In the future, renting will be done by a market party such as the Utrecht SSH organisation, which provides student housing throughout the country and is already active in the Teikyo complex. The contract that the UM intends to sign will be based on the principle of “good housing for a reasonable price,” according to Klekamp. At the moment the Guesthouse offers 600 beds at 15 locations for exchange students, and 200 beds for ordinary bachelor's and master's students. The latter hire for a maximum of one year. Prices vary, but average between 420 and 450 euro all-in, so including furniture, local taxes, gas, water, light, et cetera.
Guesthouse staff, divided over 5.4 FTEs, will go to the new employer. According to the head of the Guesthouse, Maurice Evers, employees are far from disappointed about this: “The corporations' collective labour agreement is good, sometimes even better than the UM's.”