Renting a place: What fees you should (not) pay your mediator.

When you’re renting a house using a real estate agent or an intermediate often you will be asked to pay not only intermediation costs, but also all kinds of additional fees. Read this so you won’t pay for anything you’re not supposed to (legally) pay for.

You’ve just arrived in the Netherlands and there’s a lot of things you need to arrange. On top of your list is probably a place to live. There are plenty of real estate agents and intermediates who are offering their help to find you a nice place to rent, but realize: they’re all in it for the money and some of them are not hesitant to use your lack of knowledge of Dutch housing law to make some extra cash. Whenever your guide on the renting market asks you to pay any of the fees listed below, be very critical:

Key fees(sleutelgeld): Illegalkey fees

Sometimes the landlord or the previous renter ask the new renter to pay a certain amount for the transfer of the key (the actual iron thing). Not only is this as ridiculous as it sounds, also asking money to give a renter what he’s entitled to by the contract is illegal.

Should you already have paid key money? If you can prove you did, you can reclaim the money using a legal procedure.

inschrijfgeldSubscription fees (inschrijfgeld): Legal, if reasonable

Mediators may require you to pay a subscription fee for their website, for instance. This is allowed, as long as the amount can be considered reasonable. In general subscription fees over 100 euros are considered disproportional and a case of so-called hidden intermediation costs.

Administration fees (administratiekosten): Legal, if reasonableadmin fees

Administration fees are allowed as long as the amount charged are a representation of the effort the mediator made. An example is arranging permits. Illegibly charged administration fees can be reclaimed through a legal procedure.



4 replies
  1. Alison Mills
    Alison Mills says:

    Hi Melanie and Nick.

    As already mentioned, the laws are being tightened and rightly so.

    However, please don’t dismiss rental agencies (verhuur bureau’s) in favour of an NVM Estate agent, often the bureau’s are better versed as to rental market, the NVM agent is often a specialist in buying and selling. A new expat has a very different remit and will need specialist help.

    Our agency has never asked for commission from both parties. If a property is on our site, the commission is paid by the owner of the property. If we are specifically asked to search on behalf of an expat, which would involve viewing properties of other agents together with the client, negotiating the contract on behalf of the tenant, conducting the check in and all the relevant anciliary services on behalf of the tenant – then our commission is paid by the (company from) expat.

    Lighthouse Property . nl

  2. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    Hi Nico,
    Thank you very much for this information. I’m currently looking for a place in Utrecht and I’m still confused by the system! Can I ask, what is a ‘reasonable’ administration fee? All the agencies I have contacted so far demand a full month’s rent as a fee, which I find to be quite strange, if I find the house online and I contact them, I don’t understand why I have to pay them? Or what exactly I’m paying them for?
    Any tips, suggestions or clarifications would be greatly appreciated!
    Kind regards.

    • Nick Ferrara
      Nick Ferrara says:

      Hi Melanie, the one month fee is pretty standard here. I agree that it is crazy, but unfortunately that’s how it works here. When I first moved to NL, I was setup with a reputable relocation agency by my company and every place that we went to look at had this fee. Most people I know looking for a place to rent now encounter this fee as well. In the US where I am from, this fee is unheard of, you pay your security deposit along with your rent and that’s it.

    • Nico Cobelens
      Nico Cobelens says:

      Hi Melanie,
      Rule is:
      An agent can only charge his commission from his principal. With other words, only from the one who hires him to rent out the place, or by who’s instructions he’working for. So if the landlord let him rent the place , the agent should send his invoice to the landlord. If the landlord pays the agent to rentout the place, the agent is not allowed to charge also commision by the Rentee. This is not allowed by law.
      Inorder to get some money in the agent’s pocket, the agents charge te Rentee a small amount for making up the contract (however this actually should be also be part of the Agents work belonging within the bouderies of his assignment with the landlord). A small acceptable fee ranges from € 150 / € 200 is nowadays accepted by the court. Only as beeing contractcosts.

      The second option is that if you go to an agent who you hire to find for you an place, Then he’s working for you and by succesfull-deal, you owe him commision (to the agreed amount). Most time this will be one month rent. You can also have your agent negotiate for the €rent. Just give him/her the clear instructions. I would suggest you contact a NVM Makelaar agent. Also look for places who’re put on the market by a NVM Real Estate agent. They’re bound by their organisation / regulation etc..

      Hope this will give you al little clear view what it’s all about. It is a complex item. Therefore I’ve put in this article.

      Nico Cobelens RMT/RT

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