Helping expats find a home and feel at home in Amsterdam is what we do, and what makes our work challenging, fun and most of all rewarding. It’s often the first time our clients are moving to another country, so everything they experience is new and one big adventure. Making sure they feel welcome is therefore at the core of what we do. By the time we’ve helped them navigate through their first weeks of being in the city and the process of finding a new home, we’ve built a good relationship with them and they feel like the city has welcomed them with open arms.
This feeling is dwindling though.
For the last few months we have experienced that the welcoming spirit of the city, and in this case those of private landlords and rental agents, has slowly changed. Too often we are confronted with closed doors when we show interest in an apartment on behalf of our clients. The reason for rejection is shockingly linked to the nationality of our client instead of something that can be seen as an actual risk to the lease, home or furniture (eq. employment term, income, pets).
We understand for a lot of property owners, that letting their home is about 2 P’s: preservation and profit. We also understand that they want to minimise the risk of their home decreasing in value, and that this perspective makes them risk adverse. But let’s not forget the 3rd P: people. Homes are for people. People are all different, but equal in worth, and deserving of a home. No matter what stories you’ve heard or experience you’ve had. Generalising people based on their culture and nationality is insulting and refusing them access to a home or freedom within their home because of their nationality is just as bad as discriminating against people on the street, in the workplace, at the border, or in any other situation.
Discrimination is fundamentally wrong and we believe that it’s the responsibility of everybody (especially real estate agents who are representing the landlord) to make sure that this phenomenon does not expand.
We will do our best to push back on this recent development as much as possible and hope you do too.
Let’s keep this city friendly and welcoming, because everybody deserves a home. No matter where they are from, what they look like, or what they believe in.