Renting accommodation in Amsterdam
Renting accommodation in the Netherlands is quite easy when approached cautiously and, of course, assuming you can find a place you like. If you plan to stay for a long time you should consider getting an agent involved. They are costly (typically they will ask for commission of one month’s rent plus 19% VAT) but they will help to resolve any issues that may arise, during the period in which you are searching for the perfect place to live. Even though agents are not generally involved in the relations between you and the landlord once you have signed the contract, the procedures beforehand can be tricky, and agents are helpful in making sure that you have a contract that is legitimate for an apartment that meets your needs and desires.
Be aware that agencies working on a commercial basis must have a license and must operate in compliance with the regulations; in Amsterdam, it is forbidden to provide accommodation agency services or to establish a business for that purpose or to act as an accommodation agency without a license.
You can also approach landlords independently through listings on websites or the “Gouden Gids” (Yellow Pages). If you see a house is empty and want to know who the owner is, you can obtain information (on payment of a fee) from the “Kadaster” (Land Registry). This information cannot be obtained by telephone, however there is a customer care number (+31 (0) 88 18 32 200). To obtain information you must either send a letter to the central office (at Postbus 9046, 7300 GH Apeldoorn), fax (+31 (0) 88 183 20 50), e-mail, or visit the closest “Kadaster” in person, which is located at; Naritaweg 3, 1043 BP Amsterdam.
Beware of landlords who do not live in the country. Subletting and house sharing should also be approached with caution though this can be a great way to integrate into the city. Make sure that it will be possible to register with the municipality when approaching potential landlords. In some cases, you will find this is not possible, due to the fact that landlords might not want to pay extra costs (or lose property owner tax breaks) that go along with renting out their apartments. However, for most jobs, you need to be registered at an address, and your municipality and the IND, as well as the bank and other social services will want to know where you are registered (and to send your mail) for various documents and procedures.
Process for Renting
When you have found an apartment that you like, online, through an agency or in any of the various ways of locating property in Amsterdam, it is important to contact the landlord or agent who represents the property and set up an appointment to view the apartment.
Generally, you will have a meeting to look through the property, ask questions to the owner or representative of the place and perhaps negotiate conditions of a lease, if you and the owner agree that you can be a tenant of the apartment. It is important to remember that there is a constant housing shortage in Amsterdam, so if you find a place you like, you will want to try to secure the apartment as quickly as possible. Therefore, you should know what you want and be ready to put down a deposit on an apartment as soon as you find what you are looking for.
Often, you will even be able to secure an apartment upon a first viewing. If you think this might be the case, you will want to bring certain documents with you (listed below) that are often requested for the drawing up of the contract. Once you have put down a deposit (often before signing or even seeing a contract), you can be sure that the apartment is yours. This is another reason it is wise to work with an agency, since you do not want to worry about losing your money or your security in the apartment you desire. You should also set an appointment for signing the contract with the owner and agent, and you will, of course, have to settle on a move in date.
- A residency permit or EU passport will be needed.
- Proof of earnings in the form of a full time contract for the duration of the lease.
- Many landlords will also want to see proof that you have a Dutch bank account.
- A valid form of identification will also be needed.
Lease Agreement and Rental Contract
Lease agreements are typically for 12 or 24 months though these can be negotiated depending on your circumstances. You will usually be asked for one month’s rent as a deposit though recently many landlords ask for two months rent. Rental contracts are either inclusive of utilities (water, gas, electricity and relevant taxes) or exclusive meaning that the tenant must pay these themselves. Repairs and maintenance are usually the responsibility of the landlord provided they are not caused by the tenants misuse, abuse or neglect.
This, however, will vary according to the landlord. If you plan to stay longer than a few months it is a good idea to ask that a diplomatic clause be included in the rental contract so you can address any issues that have arisen. These will typically take place six-ten months into the contract. Under normal circumstances most landlords will be happy to invite you to renew your contract and the notice required should be mentioned in the agreement. Under Dutch law, if you are required to leave the country for work, a relocation clause will allow you to forego your obligations to the rental contract, typically with one to three months notice.
Phone and internet are rarely included in rent, however ask the landlord whether there is an available line, since applying yourself can be a time consuming process.
The standard for the deposit used to be set at one month’s rent, but recently, more and more landlords have become intent on asking tenants to pay two month’s rent. To review, this is in addition to the one month you will pay up front, plus one for the agent, that’s four times the monthly rent for the apartment, plus VAT on the rent, due at once when you move. It’s important to consider this when you are calculating your budget. Check whether the apartment is furnished or not. Bear in mind that basic kitchen appliances and flooring can constitute semi-furnished in some agent’s estimations.
The city centre will certainly cost more than anywhere else. In general terms expect to pay between €500- €1000 per person for shared accommodation in the city centre or Oud Zuid and approximately €700-€1300 for single occupancy. In the rest of the city, the average is €450-€800 per person for shared and €600- €1000 for single occupancy. These prices are meant as guidelines only. Far cheaper accommodation is available and prices can go as high as you like depending on size, number of rooms and state of repair.