Finding your own place to live in Amsterdam can be a challenge. However, with some basic knowledge of housing system and rights, search and the right advice, you can find your perfect home in the city.
Accommodation options in Amsterdam
#1 Renting in the private sector
One of the most common options for expats in Amsterdam is renting property in the private sector. Private rental accommodation is not subsidised and there are no pre-conditions for your eligibility and in most cases, you’ll need a residence permit.
How to find a rental property? There are plenty of specialised rental agencies in Amsterdam, but before you sign anything, make sure your agency has a licence from the municipal authorities. There are also online housing sites and estate agents called makelaars. Moreover, you should join such Facebook groups as Expat in Amsterdam, The Amsterdam Expats Meetup Group and I need a room/roommates in Amsterdam where people share the accommodation advertisement links with everyone. If not, try to look for your place at HousingAnywhere. It’s a good website to start with.
In the private sector, landlords usually ask for a deposit (the equivalent of one or two months’ rent). Your tenancy agreement can be concluded for fixed periods of time (usually a minimum of 3 months), so please do read your tenancy agreement carefully.
Rooftrack is an initiative of WoningNet and offers a wide range of available properties in the non-subsidised rental market. Rooftrack’s website (available in Dutch and English) displays rental properties from both housing corporations as well as professional property management firms in the cities of Amsterdam, Almere, Haarlem and Utrecht.
In terms of rent, depending of a place, the prices vary from 300 euro to even 700 euro a month (bills included). You can easily rent a house with 4 friends and pay approximately 350 euro a month for your room located 8 km from the city center. However, it’s a bit risky. You may not like your roommates or registration at the City Hall may not be possible. Therefore, the best idea is to come to Amsterdam and check out different rooms by yourself.
To work or study legally in the Netherlands, you need to have a BSN – special identification number (the citizen service number). In order to get a BSN, you need to register at the Town Hall (Gemeente) by booking an appointment in advance. Before you book your appointment though, you are asked to fill in the online application form at Expatcenter website. It takes approximately 5 minutes to do so and then you can call the center directly to schedule your appointment. To register you need a birth certificate (translated to English or Dutch), contract for a house and a job contract or university acceptance letter. Within 2 weeks you’re going to receive your BSN by mail. Some places cannot be registered so make sure to check it out before you decide to move. You can’t do anything without your BSN (no bank account, no legal job contract, no insurance, etc.).
#5 My place
I found my own place thanks to a fellow travel blogger – Anna of Anna Everywhere. I’m currently staying at private student accommodation called the Student Hotel located at 335 Jan van Galenstraat. It is located 4 km from the city center of Amsterdam and it takes me about 25 minutes by bike to get there. There is a metro station and trams nearby so you can reach the city center within 10 minutes by local transportation. Although my room is small (15m2), I absolutely love it. It’s cozy, clean and brand new. The rent is 650 euro a month and I signed the contract for 10 months.
TSH offers state-of-the-art shared facilities as part of their all-inclusive rates. There are comfortable study rooms, library, and lounges, games rooms, an outdoor basketball court, and summer terrace for BBQs. I also have free access to an on-site private gym and I’ve received my own bike to use during my stay. I share a huge kitchen with 10 people where we cook together, chat and party from time to time. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything I need to prepare my meals – toaster, kettle, microwave and cooker.
It is very important for everyone who rents a home/ room in Amsterdam to know what their rights are. What to look out for when renting a house or apartment in Amsterdam? The supply of residential accommodation in the city fluctuates greatly. At times there is a housing shortage which can lead to elevated rental prices. It is therefore important to know your rights. Always make sure to read your tenancy agreement carefully before signing as six months into the contract many rights may have or could soon expire.
Should anything go wrong, the Dutch law has many rules in place to protect you as a tenant. For example, your landlord cannot simply evict you from your home. If you do not reach an agreement, only a court can terminate the lease.
WijksteunpuntenWonen (WsW) is a great contact for information relating to tenancy rights and people looking for housing. WsW is an independent organisation regarding renting and housing.
Things to know:
- As a tenant, you have rights, regardless of what’s written in your contract/lease.
- There are rules regarding rent control, furnishing and service charges.
- Housing agencies in Amsterdam have to abide by the rules and can be held accountable if you are being overcharged.
- So-called temporary leases often in fact aren’t actually temporary.
- You can make the landlord do the necessary maintenance.
- You cannot be evicted from your home for starting legal procedures.
- Charging a key fee (sleutelgeld) is illegal. The departing tenant or landlord may however ask you for this, do not pay.
Where to find help?
In the Netherlands there is an independent organisation that deals with problems between tenants and landlords called the Rent Tribunal (huurcommissie). The Rent Tribunal can also rule on disputes between you and your landlord.
Amsterdam Steunpunt Wonen – Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 32 – 1012 RZ Amsterdam – +31 (o)20 – 5230130 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.steunpuntwonen.nl
If you need some help with finding your own place in Amsterdam or nearby areas, shoot me a message so I can help you out.