When beginning your search, establish your budget and other housing preferences. How important is it for you to be nearby your work, how much are you willing to pay or are there nearby school facilities if relocating with your family etc. Next, do some research on your options; is my city preference affordable? What about nearby cities? If you live outside of the city, is there nearby public transport options and how long is the commute? Where are the most recommended areas to live? Are there shops, bars and restaurants nearby? These questions will help narrow down exactly what you are looking for and help speed up the process of finding the accommodation that fits you and your needs.
The quickest way to find accommodation is via housing agencies, where you can arrange to see multiple accommodations that are currently available. If you find accommodation through a housing agency, they normally charge a fee of one month’s rent + VAT for their services but this also varies from agency to agency. A few examples of larger housing agencies are Rotsvast and Direct Wonen and there are also smaller local housing agencies in and around the city where you work.
Another option if you are in a hurry is to look at temporary lease agreements, such as someone renting out their room for a month or two. This will give you a place to stay and give you more time to search for more permanent accommodation. Along with housing agencies have a look at www.marktplaats.nl. This is a Dutch website similar to Craigslist or eBay on a wide range of products. Do take into consideration though that renting through Marktplaats is generally through the landlord themselves.
A newer option if you are looking for something quickly and for short term is Airbnb. This can be a slightly more expensive option but will provide you with short term accommodation, allow you to be closer to the area you would like to live in and also allow you to snatch up accommodation that is available immediately.
Another helpful tip is to let friends, family, acquaintances and your new colleagues know that you are looking for a place. Telling as many people as possible could help steer you towards the right flat and many private landlords are interested in renting to tenants who are recommended by word of mouth!
On a budget?
Cities are almost always more expensive so if you are on a budget, consider concentrating your housing search outside the city centres. As mentioned above, research typical housing prices across various cities and locations until you find a location and price that suits you best.
Shared accommodation is also a very affordable means of housing in which you have your own room in a house but you share common facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with a few other people. Rent will vary according to size and location and will, in many cases, include the costs of utilities like gas, water and electricity (but you should ask to be sure). Rooms can be furnished or unfurnished.
- Be on time! It’s polite and the Dutch appreciate punctuality.
- Have a look around the neighborhood. Is the property located near public transport, supermarkets, banks, restaurants etc.?
- Take pictures. After you’ve seen 5 properties in one day, it will help remind you.
- Ask questions. Who was the previous tenant and why did they leave? How long had they lived there? What are the neighbors like?
- Check any damages and be sure to ask when the landlord or agency expects to repair it. Do this in writing.
- Test the faucets and toilet. Is the water pressure okay? Does the water heat up quickly? Does the toilet flush correctly?
- Trust your instinct! If you do not feel that the property is for you, don’t let yourself feel pressured by the landlord or agent. Keep looking until you find some place that meets your standards.
Housing advert vocabulary
Gestoffeerd – The flat will have painted walls and flooring.
Kaal – The flat will not have certain necessities, such as painted walls or flooring, that you will need to install yourself.
€….,.. inclusief / exclusief – Inclusive and exclusive, respectively. This means that the price of the rent includes or does not include the price of utilities and taxes. This will usually be explained further towards the end of the advert. If not ask what the projected costs are per month.
Te huur – For rent
Te koop – For sale
Slaapkamer – Bedroom
Badkamer – Bathroom
Keuken – Kitchen
Gemeubileerd / Ongemeubileerd – Furnished / Unfurnished
So you’ve found your ideal accommodation! Now what?
- Go over the lease agreement in detail and make sure that everything is understandable and nothing is left unclear or vague. Discuss notice periods, service agreements, house rules and other relevant details you want cleared up in advance, before signing. For any specific agreements or consent for certain options make sure to get it in writing! For example, if repairs need to be made, get an agreement in writing rather than verbally.
- Check that appliances are in good working order.
- Accompany the landlord or agent on an inspection of the state of the property and make sure that any preexisting damages are noted. Also take your own photos so that there can be no discrepancy when you leave.
- Most landlords or agencies will require 1-2 month’s rent as a deposit, which should be taken into consideration.
- It can also be normal for a landlord or agency to request to see a salary slip (salarisstrook/loonstrook) or employment contract in order to verify that your salary exceeds the monthly rent.