The Housing Act of 1902 legally established housing in the Netherlands as a shared national responsibility based on the concept of universal access to affordable housing for all. The term social housing applies specifically to rental housing subsidized by the government intending to serve those residents who, based on their incomes and assets, are unable to secure adequate housing within the free market. The Netherlands has proved itself to be on of the leading countries in maintaining its social housing stock, and also not allowing social housing to be stigmatised as bad or only for the poorest in society. In practice this is accomplished by (non-profit) private housing organisations or associations. Since 1995 the social housing organizations have become financially independent focusing on their role as social entrepreneurs.
Conditions for allocation of housing:
Those being in need of housing can register themselves on a waiting list of the local housing organisations who will take account of factors such as household size, income and special circumstances such as medical circumstances.
The dwellings that have become available will be presented on the website of the housing organisations and free housing publications. Those interested in a certain dwelling, can make their interest known through internet. Generally, in case there are several candidates for a certain dwelling the newly vacant dwelling will be allocated according to the length of registration of the candidates. However, people with specific medical or social problems would receive an urgency statement which enabled them to be helped earlier. The great advantage of this kind of supply system (also known as the Delft model) is that housing-seekers are actively involved in finding a dwelling of their choice rather than being offered one. It leads to more satisfied clients, quite apart from the housing shortage which still exists in many areas.
Since January 2011 new legislation obliges housing organisations to allocate 90% of their newly vacant dwellings with a maximum monthly rental price of €652,52 (2011) to candidates with a maximum annual income of €33.614,00 (2011) only.
The main objective of the new legislation is to make sure that the lower-priced side of the housing stock is allocated to the people with lower incomes and other special attention groups intended in policy.