As the elderly population continues to grow, more and more people prefer to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Housing that is easily accessible, safe and comfortable, because it has no barriers or is located close to public transport for example, can help achieve that goal. In response to this growing need, Bouwinvest’s Dutch Residential Fund has created a ‘Home for Life’ label to allow tenants to see whether their residence is lifecycle-proof or not.
It can be challenging for people looking for a new rental home to find out to whether, or to what extent, an apartment or the building in which it is located is lifecycle-proof. Some buildings and apartments are simply better suited for a longer lifecycle than others. Bouwinvest’s Residential Fund aims to keep its tenants for as long as possible and given that its target group continues to expand, it has now developed a framework to assess to what extent an apartment is in fact lifecycle-proof.
The ‘Home for Life’ label creates transparency about whether a rental home is lifecycle-proof or not, according to Rob Linssen, project and asset manager at Bouwinvest’s Residential Fund: "The certificate is comparable to widely known sustainability ratings such as the EPC label. EPC labels offer insights into the energy performance of a home, but no such rating system existed until now for whether an apartment is lifecycle-proof. Together with our knowledge partners we have developed a methodology enabling an independent party to determine, with the help of a checklist, whether tenants can continue to stay in their home as they grow older and if so, for how long."
Some of the questions the label aims to answer are: is there a medical practice near the property? Is it easily accessible for people with a disability? Can the windows and doors be opened easily? The label for each house is compiled by means of a star rating system. The stars indicate the score for the most important sub-features that a lifecycle-proof home must meet and together create a total score for the entire house. The higher the score, the greater the number of stars that are coloured orange.
The first homes have been accredited with the ‘Home for Life’ label in the course of 2022, and will be featured on Bouwinvest’s rental website wonenbijbouwinvest.nl. Bouwinvest will also offer aspiring and existing tenants the possibility of requesting the underlying inspection report providing information about the evaluation of the residence on more than 100 individual criteria. This way, aspiring tenants can make detailed enquiries to determine whether the house meets their specific requirements before committing to the rental procedures.
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