#antimpim Netherlands: Accusal of vacant property manager #Camelot

Camelot Europe is an international vacant property management company, that started in the Netherlands. Their business is vacant property management services to provide realestate clients with a ‘cost effective, high quality and flexible solution’ to protect vacant properties against vandalism and such. Camelot provides these services in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Its ‘services’ to the realestate sector are in fact a way to maximise profit from vacant properties by exploiting people in need of a house. Camelot was one of the first Ductch ‘antisquat’ companies that came up with the idea of having people in need of housing live in empty buildings as ‘property protectors’ on temporary flex-contracts and without any tenants rights. These dwellers can be kicked out of their house on a two weeks notice, are deprived of privacy as Camelot will randomly inspect their premises to see if they ‘behave properly’, and are forced to agree to a set of conditions that constrain their freedom of behavior and mobility.

As a result Camelot is currently housing thousands of people throughout Europe, without assuming the slightest responsibility that a landlord should bear. It is exclusively housing people for profit, not for people or the right to housing.

There are many more vacant property protection companies in Europe and beyond that operate like this. But since Camelot is assuming a position as ‘marketleader’ and has certain specific activities and characteristics, our accusation is directed at Camelot and as follows:

– Camelot is using the shortage of affordable housing by offering people in need of a house a temporary place provided they give up their (tenants) rights.

– Camelot is by-passing legislation regarding the protection of tenants. In doing so it is creating a group of second-rate tenants.

– Camelot is using inhabitants as ‘realestate pawns’ and as ‘out-sourced dwellers’ that only serve to facilitate speculation by protecting vacant property and to facilitate the break down and the privatization of the social housing sector.

– Camelot is jointly responsible for the realestate bubble by enabling realestate speculators returns on their vacant property; returns that are produced by exploited people in need of housing. Because of this, speculators don’t devaluate their property and property values remain artificially high, which makes building new properties profitable. As a result, natural areas and public spaces continue to be sacrificed for new (office) buildings, that have no demand from companies or citizens; new buildings that only serve to empty out older buildings in the area. With its vacant property protection, Camelot helps this vicious circle to remain unbroken.

– Camelot subordinates the right to housing to the profitability of realestate and is with its services and marketing actively contributing to acceptance of this mindset in Dutch society.

– Camelot discriminates in the acces to housing, intimidates inhabitants and treats them with arbitrariness.

– Camelot allows people to live in bad housing conditions, doesn’t invest in maintenance of dwellings or improving the quality of the housing conditions for the inhabitants.

– Camelot defiles the privacy of inhabitants and imposes them with other far reaching constrains of their freedom of behavior and mobility. In fact Camelot defiles over 50 different clauses of several laws and (international) conventions concerning tenants and human rights.

– In spite of its claim otherwise, Camelot is not contributing to solving the shortage in housing, as it is not investing in (realizing) permanent affordable rental housing. Camelot also places people in (vacant) social rental housing, but never re-invest its returns from that in social rental housing.

– Camelot is misleading the public by presenting its vacant property protection service as a solution for the shortage of housing. It’s misleading because its so called ‘corporate social responsibility’ is in fact the exploitation of people in need of housing.

– Camelot is an active lobbyist with local, regional and national governments and social housing corporations. It is actively promoting ‘flexible housing without (tenant) rights’. Camelot does this in several European countries and is advising lawmakers and politicians how to make ‘housing without (tenant) rights’ possible, if it isn’t yet. Camelot introduced such legislation for example in France, where it was named the Camelot-Act.

– With ist activities, Camelot is one of the driving forces behind the increasing precarisation of housing in the Netherlands and other European countries.