February 8, 2023

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Tens of thousands of Dutch victims of the questionable land trade

Tens of thousands of Dutch victims of the questionable land trade

On the cadastral map below, this agricultural field looks like a residential area under construction. In fact, they are all farmland, and nothing more.

Tens of thousands of investors are buying these types of land, assuming that homes can be built on it one day. The original land dealer bought the entire farm field and subdivided it into the cadastre. This way you can resell small plots of land.

From 4.50 to 55 euros per square metre

With the help of Kadaster, RTL News has mapped out the questionable land trade. The average price per square meter of agricultural land has been around €4.50 over the past 17 years. Now that land dealers have cut the same land into pieces in the cadastre, they charge an average of 55 euros per square meter for it. Since 2005, this trade has involved an estimated 384 million euros. Most of the investors lost their money.

The investors who bought these lands say they were misled. Lawyer Bert van Meeghem assists dozens of victims. It leads you to believe that this particular land is under development. For example, the seller states that the land is next to a residential area, and therefore qualifies for a change of use. What the seller does not show is that this land is next to a busy highway where no building is allowed at all, and therefore The construction will not take place. This is agricultural land, and it will remain agricultural land.”

52,000 euros for worthless land

Cees Wijsman has bought a 400 square meter plot of farmland for €52,000 in the Frisian commune of Tytsjerksteradiel, next to a busy N road. After his conversion, Cees paid €130 per square meter of farmland. Corn is growing now. “The salesman knew very well what he was doing. This is just getting people involved in something for which we will never get a single euro.”

He tells his full story in the video below:

Antonio also received a phone call from a salesman twelve years ago. Whether he was interested in a plot of land near Terneuzen. It was still farmland, but in the long run it would be allowed to build. Seemed like a worthwhile investment. “The salespeople came to me with attractive brochures.” Soon, he bought five plots of land, with a total value of nearly 150,000 euros. Money he has not yet recovered.

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With dozens of owners around the table

Like Sis and Antonio, it is estimated that there were between ten and twenty thousand victims in the Netherlands. The land they bought rarely changed its destination. And even if a project developer or municipality wants to build there, it will be put off by the number of owners. Instead of a single farmer or investor, you have to sit down with dozens of owners, all of whom want to see a return on their investment.

Lawyer Van Mieghem: “If you have one of those little lots, you’ll never lose it again. You can’t find in that field exactly any of your own. It’s not worth anything, you can’t sell it to anyone, you can’t even start a vegetable garden.” Your own, none of that is allowed. You can’t do anything with it. You can actually withdraw it from the regular agricultural market.”

The most expensive city in the country

Land per square meter is nowhere as expensive as in Amsterdam. You drive inside the A10 ring road at a rate of 8404 euros per square metre. Trade in farmland will not go so fast. However, the sums investors are paying for a small plot of farmland located directly above the Amsterdam Ring Road is exorbitant. Often for 100 euros per square metre. The land, which was bought by the merchant, for about 12 euros per square metre.

Kavels Amsterdam presents “a unique opportunity to purchase a lot outside the Amsterdam ring road”. In a brochure, urban expansion plans and research agencies are quoted, which announce that construction will take place on this site within six years. There’s even an atmospheric impression of what your future neighborhood will look like.

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‘don’t be fooled’

What is not mentioned is that the municipality of Amsterdam and the county have designated the same agricultural land as a recreational area. Reiner van Dantzig, a local councilor for housing in Amsterdam: “In our environmental vision to 2050, we evaluated this as a landscape where you can cycle and enjoy nature, but not where you can build.”

An alderman is not introduced through a sales tactic. “Let’s be honest, this is just an attachment. We’re not going to build here. Not now and not in the future. And I think it’s important to warn about that, because ultimately it’s not true what’s in this booklet. I appeal to people: If you want to buy this as a DIY blueprint, Don’t be fooled by the Three Crosses Andrew on the brochure.”

RTL Nieuws has asked Cavels Amsterdam to hear its reaction, but has not yet received an official response.

Basically legal

What land traders do is, in principle, legal. As long as you, as the buyer, cannot prove that the land dealer gave you false information, they will usually get away with it. If you can prove that incorrect or misleading information led to the purchase, you can file a case or go to the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets. In practice this rarely happens.

The civil law notary in question is more accountable. The civil notary is bound by the information and therefore must properly inform the purchaser. Land merchants usually work with a permanent notary for the project. Lawyer Bert van Meegem: “It’s a small club of notaries in the Netherlands that has always helped to deliver this kind of land. They know very well how it works.”

“What you often see is that notaries facilitated these types of transactions on a very large scale. It was easy to make money because many of these transactions are done with power of attorney. This means that the notary only does the clerical work, no one in the office receives, Thus he can sell a lot of those pieces of land in a very short time.”

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In 2021 he is a notary fired from office To participate in the land trade. According to the disciplinary court, the civil notary should have better informed the buyer. Van Meeghem also lost lawsuits against notaries. He argues for better rules, so that it becomes clear whether or not a notary is allowed to operate in this shady land trade.

Antonio, who has spent nearly 150,000 euros on these agricultural lands, is trying to combine his plots with other victims. This way they can resell it as a whole to a new investor. “We will not fully recover the investment, but maybe part of it. This way something can happen to the Earth anyway.” Another tip: before you decide to buy as an investor, you can always check with the municipality to see if the agricultural land will change its destination in the short term.

RTL Nieuws hopes to better identify the civil law notaries involved in this land trade. If you are a victim, please send an email to [email protected]

responsible

For this research, Kadaster has drawn up segmentation charts on behalf of RTL News. The selection was made from large agricultural plots that were subdivided after 2005 into at least ten smaller plots. Land plots that have been constructed in the meantime are not taken into account.

A total of 793 parcels remain from 2005, which are now divided into 29,021 separate parcels. It is suspected that these are used for land speculation. Almost 20,000 lots have already been traded after cutting. It is known what was paid more than 12,000.

To estimate the total proceeds of the traded plots, the transaction price of the other plots was estimated. This was done by multiplying the number of square meters per lot by the average price per square meter of the plots for which the transaction price is known.