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Two million Dutch workers, nearly 30% of the workforce, have a flexible work contract or works as an independent contractor, known locally as ZZP’ers; but due to the reliance on past work history in getting a mortgage, many of these workers encounter difficulties trying to buy a home.
In January, it will become easier for flexible workers to buy a house with the creation of a trial program launched by recruitment firm Randstad in collaboration with Obvion Hypotheken (Mortgages) and Vereniging Eigen Huis (Homeowners Association). The scheme will initially be open to 1,200 flexible workers from Randstad.
Alje Kuiper, Director of Innovation at Randstad Netherlands, commented: “Whoever wants to attain a mortgage is assessed on the basis of their chances in the labour market, their mobility, flexibility, and their readiness to invest in training. It’s a new way of looking at income security from the perspective of work prospects in the future.”
“We look through the windscreen, not the rear view mirror,” he added.
Eligible flexible workers from Randstad will receive a so-called ‘prospect statement’ and be handled by Obvion, a subsidiary of Rabobank, in the same way as other home buyers with an employer declaration.
Douwe Dijkstra, from Obvion, commented: “The mortgage must naturally fit within the budget of the applicant but that applies to everyone.”
Johan Marrink, President of ZZP Netherlands, commented: “This is a very good development for flexible workers and independent contractors. It is high time that this group have the same rights as those with permanent contracts. It is also good for the economy if, in a responsible manner, more mortgages can be sold.”
Hans Andre de la Porte, of Homeowners Association, added: “For permanent employees wanting a mortgage, it is enough to provide a statement form their employer. Flexible workers must demonstrate that they have had a pretty steady income for the last three years. That is difficult in the current job market.”
He expects that more mortgage lenders will follow suit should the trial prove successful. “[Flexible workers] have steady incomes and future prospects, but fail to meet the strict rules. The problem is that there are too many who look at the numbers and too few looking at the people. That changes with the prospect statement.”
Mr Dijkstra concluded: “If this works, we will decide in October next year if we are going wider into the market and whether or not to include other flexible workers, such as temporary workers.”