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Apartments built in the 1950s-1960s are getting dilapidated

We often get questions about the age of properties in consultation. Since last year, we also have several articles to remind readers that there are a lot of maintenance problems in the houses built after World War II. For example, some balconies have collapsed or are about to collapse, some VvEs don’t have sufficient funds, elevators in high-rise apartments are broken and there is no money to repair and so on..

Are those problems sporadic or common occurrences?

Unfortunately, most of the condos built in the 1950 - 1960s are faced with a major renovation problem. Many company owned social welfare houses built in the same time period are being demolished and rebuilt a few years ago due to the high maintenance costs.

Apartment building built in 1950s in the Netherlands

What are the problems of the private properties built in the 1950s and 1960s? Is demolition needed for those as well?

Dangerous houses built in 1950s

The baby boom after World War II caused rigid demand for housing.

Due to the post-war economic crisis and the baby boom after World War II, a large number of residences for workers with small windows, low ceilings and small spaces were built in the Netherlands.

Many properties built in this period have become new sub-centers of the city, with convenient transportation and complete infrastructure, and thus they were made the choice of many first-home buyers.

This type of house is called "old, small and broken" in China. Unfortunately, compared with the "worker's new village" in China, the quality of these same style of properties in the Netherlands are even lower.

Elevator apartment building built in 1950s in the Netherlands

In the 1950s and 1960s, a large number of elevator apartment buildings were built in various cities. Due to the height and complex facilities, those buildings have more serious problems with maintenance.

The common major maintenance problems for such buildings are as following .

  • Elevator repair is not affordable;

  • Foundation problems;

  • Asbestos in walls;

  • Cracking Concrete in balcony making buildings dilapidated;

  • Cracks in concrete structure of the storage room on the ground floor;

  • Roof leakage;

  • Exterior wall weathering leakage;

  • Ruptured sewer pipe should be replaced completely;

  • Wrong placement of CV-Ketel exhaust pipe;

  • Clogged heating pipes by rust.

Please pay attention that:

The monthly payment of VvE is more than 300 euros and the reserved fund of 700,000 to 800,000 euros does not mean that VvE is healthy. Any of the above-mentioned maintenance costs more than 100,000 and can go much higher.

70-year life of concrete makes structural cracking in it unavoidable. The first properties built in the 1950s have reached the limit in the past two years.

The maintenance costs of concrete is very high. For example, the maintenance cost of a concrete balcony is 20,000-30,000 euros, and it even requires several “re-work”. If residents don’t have enough money to repair their home, they may face the situation of having a dilapidated building in the end. Moreover, as a self-occupied apartment, there is no argument that the municipality intervenes in the demolition. The land and the building are privately owned, so residents have to be responsible for it.

If we go for knock down and rebuild, the costs of rebuilding an apartment building are often more than double what insurance can cover.

We have found in the past six months that nearly 100 apartment buildings in multiple cities built in the 1950s and 1960s don’t have sufficient reserved funds. This situation accounts for nearly 60%, and almost 90% of apartments with elevators have huge risks. These apartment buildings will face unresolvable predicaments in 2023-2028, and there are currently no clear solutions.

Did it ever come across to you that a property you purchased with a desperate bid will suddenly become dilapidated one day?

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