The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
10 October 1986, the following members being present:

                      MM. C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                          J. A. FROWEIN
                          F. ERMACORA
                          M. A. TRIANTAFYLLIDES
                          E. BUSUTTIL
                          G. JÖRUNDSSON
                          G. TENEKIDES
                          S. TRECHSEL
                          B. KIERNAN
                          A. WEITZEL
                          J. C. SOYER
                          H. G. SCHERMERS
                          H. DANELIUS
                          G. BATLINER
                          J. CAMPINOS
                          H. VANDENBERGHE
                      Mrs G. H. THUNE
                      Sir Basil HALL
                      Mr. F. MARTINEZ

                      Mr. H. C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 20 December 1984 by C.B. B.V.
and O.H. B.V. against the Netherlands and registered on 18 March 1985 under
File No. 11452/85;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The facts of the case as they have been submitted by the applicants
may be summarised as follows:

The first applicant is a limited holding company under Dutch law with
registered office at Rotterdam.

The second applicant is also a limited holding company under Dutch law
with registered office at Amsterdam.

In the proceedings before the Commission, the applicants are
represented by Mr. M. H. J. Toxopeus, a lawyer practising at

In October 1980 the applicants, who owned a number of flats at
Dordrecht which they apparently intended to sell, initiated civil
proceedings against the municipality of Dordrecht before the Regional
Court (Arrondissementsrechtbank) of Dordrecht.  The applicants
contended that the municipality had committed a tort when issuing a
decree containing rules on the application of Section 1 of the Housing
Act 1947 (Verordening houdende regelen voor de toepassing van artikel
1 van de Woonruimtewet 1947) on 22 April 1980.  This decree provided,
inter alia, that residence permits for housing, which was last rented
out for Dfl. 400.- per month or less, were only to be granted to
prospective tenants or to buyers who intended to live there
themselves, if these could be considered as urgently seeking housing
(urgent woningzoekende).  The applicants requested the court, inter
alia, to order the municipality to withdraw the decree, to publish
this withdrawal and to pay them Dfl. 3,608,150.- in damages.

On 28 January 1981, the court ordered that the contested provisions of
the decree no longer be applied and that this be published, and
rejected the applicants' other claims.

Thereupon, the applicants, and subsequently the municipality of
Dordrecht, appealed to the Court of Appeal (Gerechtshof) of The Hague.

On 11 May 1983, the Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the
Regional Court and rejected all claims by the applicants.  The Court
considered, inter alia, that the contested decree was in conformity
with Section 4 of the Housing Decree 1974, (Woonruimtebeschikking
1947), based on the Housing Act 1947, which provides that no
conditions may be attached to the granting of residence permits other
than those which are conducive to a rational distribution of housing.
The litigious decree was also found to be in conformity with the
preamble of the Housing Act which referred to the necessity of
establishing regulations for such a distribution in view of the
existing housing shortage.

The applicants thereupon appealed to the Supreme Court (Hoge Raad),
but their appeal was rejected on 29 June 1984.  According to the
Supreme Court, the decision of the Court of Appeal had been taken in
accordance with the law.


The applicants claim that their property rights have been infringed
upon by the decree containing rules on the application of Section 1 of
the Housing Act 1947, issued by the municipality of Dordrecht.  The
applicants contend that they must be allowed to sell or rent out their
property in that municipality in the most profitable way.  They also
claim that there is no housing shortage in Dordrecht.

The applicants have invoked Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) to the


The applicants have complained that the Dutch authorities, by
establishing certain regulations concerning the sale or rent of
housing, have interfered with their rights under Article 1 of Protocol
No. 1 (P1-1) to the Convention which provides:

"1.  Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful
enjoyment of his possessions.  No one shall be deprived of his
possessions except in the public interest and subject to the
conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of
international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the
right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control
the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to
secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties."

The facts as presented by the applicants make it clear that the
question before the Commission is whether the control of the use of
the applicants' property was justified.

The Commission notes that the impugned regulations generally aimed at
a rational distribution of housing, and in particular were designed to
provide cheap housing for people who were considered to be urgently
seeking housing.  Moreover, these regulations did not interfere with
existing contracts but only laid down conditions for the future
letting or sale of housing as it became available.

Furthermore, the Commission considers that the applicants have failed
to substantiate their allegation that there was no housing shortage in
Dordrecht at the relevant time.

Moreover, the Commission has had regard to the balance struck by the
Dutch authorities between the applicants' interests and the legitimate
social policy aim of providing adequate cheap housing, and is
satisfied that there was a reasonable degree of proportionality
between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised (cf. e.g.
No. 8003/77, Dec. 3.10.79, D.R. 17, p. 80 ff).

Under these circumstances, the Commission finds that the interference
with the applicants' peaceful enjoyment of their possessions was
justified under the second paragraph of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
(P1-1) to the Convention as necessary to control the use of property
in accordance with the general interest.

Consequently, the application must be rejected as manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of
the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission


Secretary to the Commission               President of the Commission

(H. C. KRÜGER)                            (C. A. NØRGAARD)