The Municipality of Leiden and Leiden University collaborate in training students at the Legal Advice Centre on tenancy law
On Monday 22 November 2021, the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden Law School and the Legal Advice Centre in Leiden signed a collaboration agreement. The parties agreed that at the request of the Municipality, the Law School will help train students to better equip them in their work on the Rental Team (a collaboration between the Legal Advice Centre and Urbannerdam). The Leiden Rental Team helps tenants when they have problems with their landlord or rental agency.
Leiden Municipality started the Rental Team in July 2021. The Rental Team works together with the Legal Advice Centre in Leiden and is staffed by law students from Leiden University. When tenants experience problems with their landlord or rental agency, the Rental Team will check to see if the rental agreement is correct, if the rent is not too high and whether the rental property has been properly maintained. This service is provided to tenants free of charge.
The Municipality asked the Law School to provide legal training to students who are part of the Rental Team. Lecturers in tenancy law will teach an annual course, record knowledge clips and assist in drawing up a low-threshold reference work with common questions about tenancy law. The lecturers will also regularly chat with students about problems they face in their work on the Rental Team.
The agreement took effect on 1 September 2021 and will last for two years. The parties will evaluate the collaboration in spring 2022.
‘The collaboration between the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden Law School and the Rental Team is a wonderful example of how Leiden educational institutions are using their expertise for the benefit of our citizens, in this case tenants. Leiden Law School, in turn, is acquiring knowledge that can help improve its degree programmes. What is particularly special is that the students on the Rental Team are also helping other students. They form an important target group for the Rental Team. So this is a great win-win situation that is in line with the municipal programme Leiden Science City, a good reason for the Municipality to stimulate this exchange’, says Fleur Spijker, responsible at the Municipality for housing. Vanessa Mak, Professor of Civil Law, adds: ‘The connection with society is very important for the University and faculty. This collaboration is a great opportunity to show what we can do for the citizens of Leiden.’ Lecturers Elout Korevaar and Lotte Kremers, are also enthusiastic: ‘Tenancy law is at the heart of society. By helping to train students at the Legal Advice Centre, we hope to make an important contribution’. Philip Agerbeek, treasurer at the Legal Advice Centre, fully agrees: ‘We are delighted with this contribution from the Municipality and the faculty. It will help us improve the quality of our services even further. And that will help us to provide better assistance to citizens with rental problems.’
Photo at the top: Fleur Spijker, Philip Agerbeek, and Joanne van der Leun
Photos: Monique Shaw