Subdivision of property and conversion to rooms

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As a social city, Maastricht is a great place to live. Maastricht is increasingly becoming an international university city as well. It is characterized by different residents with different interests and lifestyles. These differences can sometimes cause friction.

The municipality is committed to providing all residents – from locals to newcomers to students – with sufficient high-quality housing. Subdividing and converting existing properties can contribute to this.

Updated implementation rules

On 18 December 2018, the board updated several definitions in the zoning plan for subdivision and conversion. The board also developed a new list of streets that are exempt from the further expansion of room rentals, as it does every year based on an annual update of the 2016 base measurement for room rentals. The board also decided to leave the policy unchanged until the end of 2020, including the distance criterion.

Current policy: features

A distinction is made between new and existing situations. An existing situation is one in which the permit applicant can demonstrate that there was a division into independent flats or a conversion into non-independent rooms as of 21 May 2013. All other cases are deemed to be a new situation.

The following assessment framework will be used for all new situations (not existing on 21 May 2013):

  • Assessment of property size aimed at maintaining smaller properties
  • Assessment of student housing programme at the city level
  • Assessment of maximum percentage of room rentals per street
  • Assessment of distance criterion (experimental)
  • Assessment of quality requirements

New situations

Applications for new situations will be assessed sequentially based on the following requirements:

Properties smaller than 110 m2 may not be subdivided or converted

The minimum size a property must meet in order to qualify for subdivision or conversion is aimed at maintaining smaller properties. The 110 m2 standard is based on the average home size for a small household (max. 3 people). The standard was determined by the demands of smaller households and the features of existing properties and new properties. Applying the same standard to the entire city will clarify and streamline policy and execution. This standard also addresses quality of life, to a certain extent. The 110 m2 standard will spare many smaller flats from subdivision and conversion.

Maximum number per year

All applications will be assessed against the student housing programme as part of the Woonprogrammering (residential policy programme). The student housing programme allows for a limited number of new residential units:

  • 40 units per year as a result of dividing properties into independent units
  • 40 units per year as a result of converting properties into rooms
  • 40 units per year by repurposing non-residential listed buildings. This could involve either independent units or rooms and is known as the '40-40-40 regulation'.

You can submit applications relating to new situations throughout the year. The likelihood of these being accepted depends in part on whether the set annual maximum has been reached. With effect from 9:00 AM on the second Tuesday of January, you may once again submit an application for new situations on the basis of the maximum numbers for the year in question (40-40-40). Previously submitted applications that were not accepted because the maximum number had been exceeded will not be carried forward to the following year. To this end, the initiator will have to submit a new application if so desired.

Maximum percentage of room rentals per street

If the minimum standard and the student housing programme allow, an application for converting a property into a room rental will be assessed based on the maximum percentage of room rentals per street. The goal is to prevent heavy concentrations of room rentals. The maximum percentage is divided into three areas, corresponding to the residential environments outlined in the Structural Vision for Maastricht 2030 document:

  • no maximum in the residential city centre
  • 20% in the urban residential area
  • 10% in the residential fringe areas

The percentage per street was calculated based on the total number of room rentals per residential address (both legal and illegal) and the total number of properties in the street. This link was used to determine the overall percentage.

The maximum percentage requirement does not apply to:

  • dividing properties into independent units
  • repurposing properties or buildings into large-scale student housing complexes with more than 25 more or less independent residential units per building

No clustering of room rentals in a street

Applications for converting a building into several rooms will be assessed based on the following requirements:

  • Two properties divided into rental rooms must be separated by at least four properties that do not contain rental rooms. This will be enforced at the street and block level, which means: 1) counting will not continue around the corner at a crossing of two streets – counting is done per street; 2) at a crossing of two streets, the buildings on the other side of the street will not be included in the calculation.
  • For individual properties and/or properties that rent out rooms in a building with six or more residences and/or properties with room rentals, an additional rule applies: two properties that offer room rentals must be divided by at least two other properties.

This distance criterion does not apply to:

  • dividing properties into independent units
  • applications in the residential city centre
  • repurposing properties or buildings into large-scale student housing complexes with more than 25 more or less independent residential units per building

Quality requirements

Applications will be assessed based on the requirements outlined in the Buildings Decree. Additional requirements include:

  • municipal parking spaces
  • a bicycle parking facility and waste facility must be provided on-site. The municipality will allow for custom solutions, particularly in the residential city centre.

Similar to the handling of new housing applications, the initiator must sign an agreement regarding financial liability to cover any damage resulting from the execution of the plan. This will place the financial risk of a claims request resulting from the devaluation of the surrounding buildings with the initiator of that plan.

Existing situations

The reference date of 21 May 2013 serves as the starting point for existing room rentals (this is the date of the amendment to the subdivision and room rental act).

After the review date for the subdivision and conversion zoning plan, determined by the Municipal Council (23 August 2019), applications for the legalization of existing situations will be assessed against the same criteria as new situations, with the exception of the street maximum and the distance criterion. This was determined in the 2016 board memo on the new policy for subdivision and conversion.

The subdivision and conversion policy for new applications and for existing situations has been illustrated in the following diagram: