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The Netherlands - Living

House hunting & Moving

In the Randstad and in all big cities, there is a high demand for housing. The high population density and the fact that there is not enough space complicate the search. In cities, it’s more difficult to find a place in August/September and January/February due to the start of the new academic (half) year.

These are the best places to look for housing:

Facebook
There are lots of different house hunting groups on Facebook. Usually, there are multiple groups per city, so don’t be lazy and do your research. You should check them regularly to make sure you are one of the first to respond. You can also post a call with some information about yourself and what you are looking for.

Websites
There are different websites that can be helpful to find a place to live. Some websites are only for a certain city or area in the country. Here are some examples: The national rent-a-room site Kamernet, the student accommodation provider SSH with more than 19,000 rooms or Stichting tijdelijk wonen, which offers rooms in former office buildings.

WoningNet can be a good choice to find the right home. WoningNet works with more than 100 corporations, landlords and municipalities. Registration is necessary. Patience is very important: The waiting periods can be nerve wracking. Corporations can be found on WoningNet.nl. For free sector rental housing, go to Rooftrack.nl or https://www.woningtarget.nl/. Student homes can be found on Studentenwoningweb.nl.

Some organisations offer accommodation only for a selected region. Please check the websites to see if it covers your region.

Universities
Students can ask at the International Office of their university. They might have useful tips for you!

Network
A network helps a lot to find a new home. Try to meet new people, go to meet ups, etc. and create a new network. It helps to be in the city where you want to live and to search there actively.

Real estate agent
It’s possible to find a room, a flat or a house through a real estate agent, in some cities this is more common than others. Note that this can be quite expensive, and it can be hard to find a good agent.

Some keywords
If you want to search for your new home on the internet, the following keywords could be very helpful:

kamer te huur (room for rent)
huis te koop (house for sale)
huisgenoot gezocht (looking for roommate)
woonruimte aangeboden (housing offered)
tijdelijke kamers (temporary rooms)


Be careful!
There are a lot of cheaters around. They ask for payment in advance and then send you to a flat that does not exist.

The Netherlands - Living

Rent a place

You can rent a house, an apartment or a room. These things are important to know:

Rent index
In big cities, rent starts from around 230 euro for a room (10m²) and around 1000 euro for a flat (100m²). But any price is possible; the sky is the limit. The location and the condition of the building influence the price. Furnished rooms often come with extra costs. There are landlords who offer rooms for extremely high prices, but this is illegal and violates the rights of the renter. To enforce your right, you can get help from the ‘huurcommissie.' All-inclusive rents are quite common, but not completely legal. The basic costs and the additional costs should be mentioned separately. Also ask for any additional costs you have to pay, like a garbage collection fee, so you won’t be surprised with an unexpected bill.

Social Housing
Social housing is cheap rental housing for people who do not have enough financial resources to rent an apartment in the free sector. These properties are usually owned by a housing association. To be eligible for social housing, you must fall into a particular social stratum. For example, your income should not be high.
In a social rental apartment maximum rental rates and a maximum rent increase apply. Thus, the rent of a social housing should not exceed a set limit. In 2018, this limit will be € 710.68 (excluding additional costs). As a tenant of a social housing, you can also receive housing allowance.
These rules do not apply in the free sector (vrije sector). Rijksoverheid explains succinctly the differences, rights and obligations.
Large cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht have long waiting lists for social housing. Register as early as possible.

Rent in the free sector
Rental objects in the open sector are dwellings for which no subsidy is granted and for which there are no regulating provisions regarding rent. Renting in the free sector means to rent above the social rental limit. These are apartments gulp a monthly rent of about € 710.68 net. To be eligible as a tenant, many landlords demand that you earn around 3, 4 or 5 times the monthly rent, or 50 times a year. This depends on the landlord and must be requested there. You will not receive any co-funding (see below) for co-objects in the free sector.

Students beware: student rooms are not in the "free sector" category. The rents of these spaces can therefore be calculated according to the points system. It is recommended to check the rental price. Tips are also offered by Rijksoverheid.

Rental agreement
The rental agreement is very important. It protects both you and your landlord. Here are some examples of rental agreements:

House sharing
Living in a shared apartment together with housemates is, of course, cheaper than living on your own. When looking for a shared place, you might be invited to come ‘hospiteren.' This is an interview for a room in a shared apartment. Sometimes it’s only you and your possible housemates. But it’s also possible that they invite all candidates for the room at once. The housemates will ask questions and sometimes play games to find out which of the candidates is the best fit. Try to be yourself, because, in the end, you might be living together.

Rent allowance
If you have low income, for example, students, you might get some extra money from the government to help you with your rent. This is called ‘huurtoeslag.'

The Netherlands - Living

Real estate

You can also buy a house or an apartment. A real estate agent can help you, but this can be expensive. The search can be cheaper on one of the numerous websites: Funda1 is the most known page. After visiting your possible new place, you can try to bargain. If you buy something, it’s your duty to check the architectonic and judicial state. If you and the seller agree on the price, you may sign the contract. You might need a mortgage to buy the house or the apartment. You should inform yourself well about the process and different offers. There are websites that help you compare different providers. For the handover of your new home, a notary is involved. Then you also will get the key, and you are the new owner. It’s possible that you might need to renovate something.

When buying a house, keep these things in mind:

Taxatie (pricing valuation)
To check the value of a house or an apartment, you can hire a surveyor. This is sometimes even necessary. For example, if you want to get a mortgage.

Notary
You will need a contract drawn up by a notary. The notary will support you with all contracts and will ensure that the land registry office gets the right notice.

Mortgage
There are no formal restrictions for non-Dutch citizens buying Dutch property or applying for a Dutch mortgage. However, there are certain situations in which the mortgage provider may want to investigate your personal circumstances to predict if they will be at risk.
With the deed of purchase and perhaps some other agreements or contracts from the notary, a proof of your income and few more information, you can apply for a mortgage. It is usual to choose an intermediary to choose your mortgage provider. You can discuss a mortgage with your bank too. However, you have to pay a commission or agency fee.

You can apply for two different kinds of a mortgage:

• Linear mortgage (lineaire hypotheek):
The borrower repays the initial mortgage loan by a fixed amount every month. On top of this is interest payment, but the interest payments will reduce over time since the borrower gradually redeems the initial loan. Since the mortgage amount will actually decrease, so will the interest payments.

• Annuity or repayment mortgages (annuïteitenhypotheek):
The borrower repays a fixed sum each month, which covers the interest and a slice of the capital. In the initial years, the interest payments are high but repay little of the initial capital loan. This reverses towards the end of the mortgage term as the borrower begins to pay off more capital and hence less interest. The total monthly payments are fixed over the entire period.

Insurances
If you own a house or an apartment, some insurances can be useful. An Insurance of the building for example. For people who bought the house or apartment with a mortgage, it’s even obligated. An insurance on contents is also very useful. There are different types of insurances, so inform yourself about which ones that are interesting to you and your property.

Taxes
For the handover of your new place, you need to pay 2% of the total price to the government as tax. There are also a few yearly communal taxes which you pay to your local authority. The price depends on the ‘WOZ-waarde,' the average value of your property. The local authority determines this value annually. Furthermore, there is an effluent charge, taxes for your water authority and a tax on waste. These taxes can also depend on the ‘WOZ-waarde’ or on the number of people living in the house. You will get a letter from the local authority about the WOZ-waarde and all payments.

The Netherlands - Living

Moving

There are different companies to help you relocate, some of them operating international. Sometimes the employer pays (part) of the relocating costs, so make sure to check your options. Moving from Germany to the Netherlands is tax exempt. Bringing your own car from Germany is only tax exempt under certain circumstances.

 

There are several companies that can help you with your move, and some of them work internationally. Sometimes the employer pays (part of) the removal costs, so check your options. The move of your household goods from Germany to the Netherlands is tax-free.

Moving a car from Germany is tax-free only under certain circumstances. More information on importing vehicles is provided by ANWB (the Dutch counterpart to the ADAC) and the Dutch tax office. If you have to pay the import tax - the so-called BPM (Belasting van personenauto's en motorrijwielen), then you can calculate this on numerous websites like bpmberekenen.com.


1 Website van het jaar. (2016). Website van het jaar winnars. Retrieved on June 20, 2017, from https://websitevanhetjaar.nl/past-winners/