I find it unacceptable that the practice of anti-squat still persists in its current form. Originally intended to protect vacant properties from squatters while providing housing for those in need, anti-squat companies now hold excessive power over their tenants, leading to arbitrary and unpredictable living conditions. The current housing shortage in the Netherlands has only exacerbated the power imbalance between anti-squat agencies and residents, putting the latter at a serious disadvantage.
In October 2019, a fire at Coolsingel 75 left fifty tenants of the anti-squat company Camelot homeless. This tragic event prompted me to write a statement based on my own experiences and those of a diverse group of anti-squat residents, detailing the unethical practices of various anti-squat companies.
I provided the political party SP with first-hand accounts from tenants and concrete research findings, which formed the basis for parliamentary questions posed to the bench of Mayor and Aldermen of Rotterdam.
The council members of Rotterdam engaged in a constructive discussion as a result of the parliamentary questions. However, the alderman ultimately deemed the discussion insufficient justification for terminating the contract between the municipality and Camelot.
Finally, in April 2020, the municipality ultimately decided to sever its ties with Camelot and cancel their contract, which could be viewed as a small measure of justice within an otherwise imbalanced power dynamic.