Dutch social renters wanting to move to a new apartment can now use an app to swap houses with other renters. One precondition, both renters need to ‘like’ each other’s apartment to get a match.
Since a few months, social renters in the Netherlands can use an app to browse rental apartments. The app, called ‘Huisjehuisje’ (Little House x2), is designed for renters that are looking to move to a new rental apartment. Huisjehuisje shows the user other renters’ apartments that are up for a trade. The app user can ‘like’ the apartments he or she finds attractive. Those that are not to their liking they can swipe to the left. If two renters like each other’s apartment, they are matched. The main idea behind Huisjehuisje is that more people can find a place to live that suits their current desires and needs.
Huisjehuisje is born out of a crowded rental sector in the Netherlands. With the lack of affordable and available rental properties, young renters often have a difficult time entering the rental sector. Only those with a long registration time with the social rental organizations may find their way into small apartments. With Huisjehuisje, project leader Pieter Schipper hopes to make it easier for young renters to find an appropriate apartment. Young renters with small apartments may swap with older residents who live in bigger apartments. In this way, the issue of scheefwonen (skew living — when people live in apartments that do not match their needs and desires) within the Dutch rental sector could be solved. The reality of this mismatch of living conditions and needs is shown by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. NRC Handelsblad reports that research of municipalities and housing councils around the city of Amsterdam have found that 52% of Dutch households want to move within the next 2 years. Only 1 out of 13 renters eventually manages to move.
Housing market professor Peter Boelhouwer of the Technical University in Delft sees potential in Huisjehuisje. He thinks that the app will enable those who are afraid to lose their registration time (which happens after you move house), and end up waiting for the perfect apartment to show up. Huisjehuisje will help them as it renters maintain their registration time after they swap. However, users need more than just getting a match. After two apartments are matched, the users are introduced to each other, after which they have to find out if their rental agreements are compatible enough for the renters to swap house. Nevertheless, the app offers 330,000 rental apartments from 26 housing associations in the central part of the country. This opens up new opportunities for many who are unable to succeed in the conventional ways of finding a suitable home.