Neighbors from Hell: Problem-Solving and Housing Laws in the Netherlands
The Arizona Summit Law Review, Comprehensive Law Issue (Volume VII), 2014
20 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2014 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014
Date Written: April 16, 2014
Housing related anti-social behavior such as noise nuisance, harassment, hoarding, the cultivation of cannabis and small-scale drug dealing can have devastating effects on neighbors. Like in the rest of the world, Dutch landlords have the power to obtain an eviction order from the housing court if a tenant causes serious nuisance to his victims. After obtaining this eviction order, the landlord is entitled to remove the anti-social tenant from the premises. However, making a anti-social tenant homeless does not solve the underlying causes of anti-social behavior. An eviction does not have any therapeutic effect for the perpetrators or for his victims. Moreover, evicting families is a waste of money and time. For that reason, this paper addresses the following question: could Dutch housing law be applied in a more solution-oriented way? Is it possible to apply private law in a more therapeutic way in order to combat anti-social behavior and its underlying causes at an early stage? Is it possible to reduce the number of evictions and reserve the instrument of expulsion for exceptional cases in which therapy and dialogue are no longer a solution? This Article tries to answer these questions by analyzing Dutch housing (landlord-tenant) law with the help of findings of therapeutic jurisprudence and research on problem-solving justice.
Keywords: anti-social behaviour, nuisance, tenancy law, eviction, therapeutic jurisprudence, problem-solving courts
JEL Classification: K11, K42
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