When looking to rent a house or rent an apartment within the Netherlands, it is important to know about the oddities of the Dutch accommodation rental market. This will avoid complications in the future and prevent any drawbacks or pitfalls.
Even for those with some knowledge on renting Dutch accommodation within the Netherlands, the rules surrounding sourcing, renting and landlords can be very complicated. For those renting for the first time, it is advisable to take time and care when choosing Dutch accommodation. The following information should help you steer clear of illegal properties and help guide you through what to expect when it comes to signing the rental contract.
Dutch Accommodation: Renting a House or Apartment
Over 40% of the population in the Netherlands rent their home, the country having a high level of Dutch accommodation social housing; many Dutch rental properties are actually social housing with restricted allocation.
Renting amounts are measured and also controlled for properties of lower value in terms of Dutch accommodation. In some areas there are even restrictions as to who can live in a particular area, this gives priority to those with connections to the area itself (such as having been born or raised there or having lived there previously), especially if they already have family working in that area.
The fundamental question in regards to Dutch accommodation to those with financial backing is whether to rent or buy a property within the Netherlands. If time is a factor then renting is the best option, as buying a Dutch accommodation property can take several months. If you plan on staying less than three years in total, renting Dutch accommodation is also the most efficient way forward as buying a house or flat in the Netherlands is typically expensive.
Dutch Accommodation: Finding a Rental Property.
An application is needed to the Dutch accommodation authorities central body for social housing, however very few expatriates qualify for any social housing. With this in mind, finding a flat is just as tricky as any other EU country. There is one big key difference, however, in the workings of the Dutch point system. Referred to as the ‘woningwaarderingsstelsel’, this points system works on the amenities the accommodation features (how many bathrooms, toilets, bedrooms, parking spaces provided, fixtures etc.) and therefore dictates the rental rate for each Dutch accommodation house or flat.
Property portals online are immensely popular and properties can also be found through letting agents or adverts on community boards and in newspapers. If you are looking at employing an estate agent to source appropriate Dutch accommodation, then the costs involved will accumulate to roughly one or two months rent depending on individual estate agent fees.
Even in the largest Dutch cities, communities are very tightly knit and it is advised to employ only one in each area that you are looking in; this prevents insulting or displeasing anyone.
The estate agent will be obligated to tell you all information, pro’s and con’s, about the each Dutch accommodation property and will be expected to work with your best interests in mind.
Competition for living space is fierce, particularly in large built up areas where population density is incredibly high and Dutch accommodation isn’t always available. It is worth keeping a broad range of properties within your budget in mind and be ready to jump at the opportunity when you find one that takes your fancy. You will need to sign the contract fast, as competition will be right behind you.
Dutch Accommodation: Descriptions of Properties.
The majority of properties up for sale or rent are not furnished. An unfurnished area of Dutch accommodation or a flat in Dutch is known as a ‘kaal’. Being unfurnished means that the flat or house or Dutch accommodation will not come with carpets, curtains, light fittings or furniture of any kind except for sinks and stoves – which are usually included, but washing machines, dishwashers and fridges may not be when it comes to ‘kaal’ Dutch accommodaiton. Furnishing and making an unfurnished flat feel homely can add substantial amounts onto the spending involved with moving into Dutch accommodation.
Other flats or houses may be advertised or described as ‘gestoffeerd’, which means the Dutch accommodation is supplied with soft furnishings. This will include carpets, some kitchen appliances and curtains – often stretching to light fixtures too.
Furnished houses and flats or other types of Dutch accommodation are advertised as ‘gemeubileerd’ and are usually ready just to move straight in. While some landlords have differing levels of furnishings in order to make a let habitable, it is worth discussing issues as soon as you find them.
Sharing a house over a short time period with short-term shared housing will usually be furnished while student accommodation is very rarely ever furnished.
Dutch Accommodation: Short-Term Tenancies
Within Amsterdam, it is actually illegal for any landlord to rent any property for any less than 6 months without first acquiring a special license to do so. The law in regards to this license covering Dutch accommodation is often disobeyed and will cause significant problems later down the line.
In the Netherlands it is commonplace to find holiday homes and short term lets as successful Dutch accommodation alternatives, good sources can be found on tourist websites that have English translations.
Although a risky maneuver, you can sublet a property but it is unwise. In accordance with restrictions on residency ‘by co-operatives and certain municipalities’ in relation to Dutch accommodation, you might not have the right to actually live in the property itself while rented. You would also have very little alternative in the event of eviction under malpractice.
Dutch Accommodation: Social Housing
Nearly 75% of rental properties on the Dutch accommodation market are social housing. While this can be drastically cheaper it is severely controlled and only allocated on a basis of who needs it the most, the waiting time for this kind of Dutch accommodation often stretching into several years. The social housing is usually reserved for family’s who have an income in total of less than EUR 34,000 – this figure rises and falls with inflation.
Dutch Accommodation: Anti-Squatting
This is a very, very basic and cheap form of Dutch accommodation, albeit not one that we would recommend. Anti-squatting splits empty buildings into rooms and rent can be extremely low, but there are practically no rights and while rooms can be quiet and large, facilities are incredibly basic. Tenancies can be very short and can end almost immediately when the building is sold or to be demolished.
Dutch Accommodation: Housing Benefit
Rental benefit (hurrtoeslag) is offered for persons and families on low or small income amounts. The conditions scrutinized are complex in nature, and we advise contacting the Dutch governmental advice center’s to discuss individual cases in regards to Dutch accommodation.