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NMa: No Abuse of Dominant Position by Municipality Amsterdam

Following a complaint made by Vereniging Eigen Huis (an association representing homeowners), NMa has concluded that the municipality of Amsterdam has not abused its dominant position in renting its land through long-term leases. The association's complaint related to the sharp increase in the level of ground rents, the annual payment which the lessee pays to the owner of the ground, in this case the municipality of Amsterdam.

Under the former leasehold conditions, the ground rent was determined on the basis of an amount to be paid annually, which remained unchanged for a specified period, subject to a maximum term of 75 years. At the moment that the ground rent is determined for a new term, the current value, for instance, determines the value of the ground. Since the value of the ground has increased over the years, this has been reflected in the newly determined ground rent. This explains the observed increase, according to NMa.

Vereniging Eigen Huis was also of the opinion that the municipality discriminates between lessees, since private individuals, for instance, pay a higher ground rent than housing corporations. NMa has established that the municipality does indeed treat housing corporations differently to private individuals. With regard to its leasehold policy, the municipality exercises a public duty (namely ensuring affordable housing for people with lower incomes). In doing so, the municipality does not act as a company and the Competition Act consequently does not apply to this.