As the majority of Dutch people live in large towns, rental accommodation costs in cities, such as Amsterdam, can be high with rental choices also being limited. But rental accommodation can still be found. A new government policy covering rental property is being implemented and will impact on price, quality and availability. Check the Dutch Ministry of Housing website for details. A real estate agent (makelaar) can help you find suitable accommodation and assist with rental
paperwork. Tenants can either rent directly from private property owners or from public housing corporations.
Renting from a housing corporation is not an option for shorter term visitors as they face stringent qualifying conditions and often a long waiting list for public rental accommodation.
Finding a rental property
Local newspapers, particularly the weekend editions, are full of advertisements for rental accommodation. Property agencies advertise places to rent, furnished and unfurnished, in their own areas, usually with web addresses for convenient access.
Tell an agent what you are searching for, your price and desired location. Agents usually charge the equivalent to one month’s rent as fee for their service. They speak English and generally are prepared to take you to view properties after working hours.Some 70 per cent of estate agencies are members of the Dutch Association of Estate Agents
(Nederlandse Vereniging voor Makelaars, NVM).
Contact the association at:
Postbus 2222, 3430 DC Nieuwegein. Tel: 030 608 5185.
Furnished (gemeubileerd) accommodation is typically comprehensively furnished with standard appliances included. Semi-furnished (gestoffeerd) places should at least have basic kitchen appliances, floor coverings and curtains. Unfurnished (ongemeubileerd) accommodation can be very empty. Dutch tenancy laws classify furnished apartments as hotels, which means that tenants have little security of tenure and can be given notice to quit with little warning. Unfurnished apartments offer more secure tenancy.
Tenants need to provide proof of identity, such as a payslip (salarisstrook) or a letter of employment from an employer.
Some agents and landlords want an employer to be guarantor which not all employers would agree to be.
A standard lease is written in Dutch. Lease agreement can be for any length of time and in The Netherlands it is commonly for an indefinite period. The notice period is automatically one month, if not stated otherwise in the lease. A typical lease will specify duration of lease, whether furnished or unfurnished, parking space, what utilities are included, service charges for cleaning of communal areas, notice period and maintenance obligations. A lease should protect the rights of both tenant and landlord. Additional clauses can be inserted, for example, to add an inventory of electrical appliances and requirements for fire alarms and smoke detectors.
Standard practice is for the tenant to pay the first month’s rent in advance, a security deposit (Borg) equivalent to one or two months’ rent and a fee for an estate agent, if applicable. It is usual for the agent to hold the deposit on behalf of the landlord. The tenant should keep receipts of payments made and rent can be more conveniently paid via bank transfer.
Property service charges should be specified in the lease, which should also cover insurance costs of the property, whether payable by tenant or landlord. A real estate tax (onroerende-zaakbelastingen, or OZB), assessed from the market value or size the property, is also to be paid to the local authorities each year.. A lease shorter than 12 months should include a reduction of this tax for the tenant and stated in the rental contract. The tax statement is divided into two parts, one part for the tenant to pay and the other for the owner. An owner-occupier pays both parts.The owner also pays other municipal taxes for sewerage (rioolrecht), connection to the municipal sewer system, and a waste disposal tax (afvalstoffenheffing/reinigingsrechte) for the collection of domestic waste.
The lease should cover obligations to maintain equipment by the landlord’s and the tenant’s repair of defects caused by their negligence. In a rental dispute, the local bureau for legal assistance (Bureau voor Rechtshulp) are there to offer free legal help to tenants with limited means. NVM-registered estate agents have professional indemnity cover to protect them in cases of misconduct or negligence.