Renting in the Netherlands & in the Haarlem area
If you’re planning a short-term stay (under five years), renting is your best bet. Beat the competition with our tips for rental property.
One of the things we find newcomers struggle with is finding a nice and reasonably priced accommodation. The Amsterdam/Haarlem/Haarlemmermeer area is a popular market for housing, so finding a place to live can be a challenge.
When searching for a rental accommodation, there are two possibilities: “social” or vrije, “free” housing or private non-subsidized sector. Social housing is a competitive market mainly reserved for a select few, with restricted allocation, giving priority to those with a strong connection to the area, such as having been born there, having family in the area or working nearby. The free sector offers a wider variety of properties and locations but is more expensive as the owner can choose how much rent to charge. Since 2014, property prices in Amsterdam have soared, with 2016 seeing an almost 15% increase on the previous year making it harder than ever to find affordable housing, especially in “Amsterdamned expensive”, some less in the cities and villages surrounding the metropole.
At times there is a housing shortage and unfortunately some landlords abuse this. Its’ therefore important renters take care when choosing a property to rent in the Netherlands. Knowing the rules of the Dutch rental market can help you avoid renting an illegal property, paying a too high negotiation fee, and give you an idea of where and how to search for rental properties.
FIND A PROPERTY TO RENT
There are many online property portals in the Netherlands. The most known are Funda.nl and Pararius.nl. But be careful: the properties are often not available anymore and you have to be assured about the trustfulness of the renter of the property.
General sales forums like Marktplaats also list rental properties but require extreme caution as they can attract fraudsters.
The safest, most efficient way to find a rental property in the private market is to commission a good real estate agent (makelaar) with experience in helping expats, but they charge you for their services. There is often the added bonus of having to deal with dodgy real-estate agents and a multitude of scams. As a general rule you should never accept to pay for an apartment if registration is not possible or if you haven’t actually visited the apartment. Also the real estate agent cannot charge you a search fee if he or she is getting paid by the landlord. There’s also limits to how much they can charge you should you decide to use an agency to find you a house.
TIPS ON AVOIDING HOUSING SCAMS
If you don’t know anyone in the new country who can help you to find suitable accommodation ask our Housing Coach to recommend you a local real estate agent, advised by fellow expatriates already living there or contact directly one of our preferred Housing partners.
ExpatsHaarlem Housing collaborates with professional real estate agents and service suppliers that follow the rules and provide good service. Our preferred partners are reputable agencies that work on a no cure, no pay basis.
Hiring an agent to help you find a property has many advantages:
- Agents have access to information about new properties before they are published online.
- The agent or the expatsHaarlem Housing Coach can also show you different parts of town and tell you a bit about the area, such as the transport links or the local schools.
- They can also check that the rent seems fair for the size and location of the property and, if necessary, help you negotiate on the price.
- If you don’t speak Dutch, agents or our Housing Coach will translate documents for you. They can also take a look at your contract, inventory check, or deposit procedure and identify any issues.
How we can help you?
As community for internationals, we of expatsHaarlem believe finding the perfect home in an honest and smooth way is essential to your transition. That’s why we provide you information, help you or refer you to trustful agents who often work with internationals, offer you housing services and help you how to get utilities when moved in. Find more about how we can help you and tell us your specific wishes for a property using our registration form.
Indicative rental prices (in euros)
|Monthly rent||Studio apartment: EUR 300 – 800
House/apartment: EUR 800–1,300 for an average house/apartment (100 to 250 m²).
Apartments: EUR 700 -800 for a two/three-room (65 to 100 m²) apartment.
Semi-detached house: EUR > €1200
Detached house: EUR > 1750.
Rent should only increase in line with inflation each year.
|Deposit||Typically equal to one months’ rent|
|Agent’s fees||Typically equal to one month’s rent for a search agent hired by you, otherwise paid by the landlord.|
|Furnishing||Costs may include carpet, light fittings and often kitchen appliances.|
|Utilities||Often bundled with the rent, in which case make sure you understand what you’re paying for and that the utilities are metered.|
|Landlord hosting||EUR 220 to 300.|
ADDITIONAL RENTAL COSTS
Service costs: inclusive or exclusive
The rental price can be either inclusive or exclusive; service charges include gas, water, electricity, Internet connection, landline, cable TV, city taxes, sewage (rioolrecht), and rubbish collection (afvalstoffenheffing). When renting accommodation in the Netherlands, newcomers should confirm what exactly is included in the rental agreement. Many additional housing costs are not covered by the basic rent. These costs are, however, strictly regulated in the Netherlands. Many tenants (especially expats) are not sufficiently aware of the laws. Landlords must follow the housing laws with regards to the amount of service costs they can legally charge. Unfortunately many tenants are overcharged for such items.
Look for: advance payments and final calculation: Some landlords will have you pay a voorschot, or advance for utilities, which is included in the rent and paid at the end of each month. At the end of the year, bills will be calculated and balanced with the actual costs, resulting in either money owed or, hopefully, returned. You should be issued with a comprehensive eindafrekening, “final settlement,” for your own records.
Look out for “All-in-price”: The lease should clearly differentiate between the basic rent (kale huur or netto huur) and the service costs (service kosten). If this differentiation is not clear and one unspecified sum is mentioned, the lease is considered an “all in” contract. These contracts are not legal and the rent can therefore be significantly lowered.
Learn the state of rentals for no last-minute surprises: Furnished or Unfurnished?
Houses for rent are available in three different states of furnishing:
- Kaal (Unfurnished) – There are no carpets, curtains, light fittings, etc., though there probably will be a fitted kitchen. Built-in appliances such as a cooker and possibly a fridge or dishwasher may be present. These additional costs need to be factored in. Sometimes you can choose to pay a bit more to buy furnishings from the previous tenants such as curtains or furniture. These are called
- Gestoffeerd (partly furnished) – Most will have kitchen appliances and soft furnishings such as curtains and carpets.
- Gemeubileerd (furnished) – generally including appliances, cutlery, crockery, bed linen, etc. Your contract should specify the monthly cost of having these furnishings. This is meant to be 1/60th of the value of the furnishings. Some landlords may try to increase their profits by charging well in excess of this. This is not allowed and you are legally entitled to a refund for any overpayment.
You will definitely be asked for guarantees concerning your ability to pay the rent. Professionals need to demonstrate a copy of their job contract. Students usually have to present a bank statement of your account in the Netherlands and probably a statement from your family bank account with an English note exhibiting your credit ability. In any case, you must provide your Citizen Service Number, called BSN in Ducth.
Moving in and out
Even if the property you are renting is completely unfurnished (kaal), it is often possible to buy the flooring and curtains from the previous tenant. However, no matter what agreement you made with the previous tenant or estate agent, you will have to reach a similar agreement with the following tenant because you usually have to return the property to a ‘neutral’ state when you leave – otherwise you will be charged the costs to do this. This typically means removing all additional flooring, light fittings and so on, and painting the walls white
Dutch law is mostly in favor of the tenant, not the landlord, and there are fixed processes for disputing a rent, rental increase or other issues. You may wish to: