Amsterdam is a wonderful place to live. Whether it’s a beautiful 17th century canal house or a Jordaan apartment with a cute balcony and fear-inducing stairs, there are certain regulations and important information which you should be aware of before signing a rental contract. We have put together a list of 10 tips especially for first time renters.
1. Rental Market
The rental market in Amsterdam is made up of non-regulated (free sector) and regulated housing (social sector). Whether a property falls into the free sector or the social sector is determined by a points system. (see www.huurcommissie.nl for more information) From the 400,00 properties in the city, only 10% are available in the free sector. This means that rental properties available for expats in Amsterdam are in short supply.
The Amsterdam rental market is known as a “fast market”. The shortage of available housing and great demand for these properties means that apartments are on the market for only a few days before they’re successfully rented. This means that potential renters need to act quickly if interested in a property.
2. Rental Prices
Rental prices are determined by 1. Location, 2. apartment size and 3. aesthetics. An indication of what you can expect to pay for a good quality apartment within the Amsterdam ring is as follows:
- 1 bedroom apartment €1300+ excl. per month
- 2 bedroom apartment €1800+ excl. per month
- 3 bedroom apartment €2400+ excl. per month
3. Rental agreements 101
Proper rental agreements will list a breakdown of a tenant’s monthly payment obligations and specify the deposit amount. Categories you an expect to see in a rental contract are:
- the monthly rent
- furniture, carpeting and fixtures
- advanced payment for any or all of electricity, water, electricity, internet and tv subscription.
4. Rental agreement 101.1
Verbal agreements between tenant and estate agent/home owner are binding under Dutch law, however, it is very hard to prove. As a means of avoiding one party breaking an agreement, we work with letters of intent. The tenant and the real estate agents both counter-sign a letter of intent in before an official rental contract is created.
5. Short stay/long stay
Short stay housing is defined as a rental period which is less than 6 months. Long stay housing on the other hand is for a period of 6+ months.
6. Long stay contracts
Generally speaking, 12 month rental contracts are more attractive for landlords than 6 month rental contracts. This is due to the cost incurred to the landlord each time a tenant moves out and a new tenant moves in. A landlord must pay a real-estate agent to set up viewings, create contracts and manage the rental process each time it’s rented out.
7. Real estate agents and fees
There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding whether paying a fee to a real estate agent is legal. In a nutshell, if a real estate agent is working on behalf of a home owner to manage a property and arrange viewings, he/she cannot charge commission for organising a tenancy. Many expats are paying fees as much as 1 month’s rent just to sign a contract. The more expats that understand that this is illegal the sooner agents will stop trying to exploit expats.
It is normal that a deposit of 1 month’s rent will be required for an unfurnished apartment, and 2 month’s for a furnished apartment.
9. Handy Dutch terminolgy
Here are some real estate terms which are handy to know if you’re planning on renting a home in Amsterdam:
- Service kosten: service costs. What constitutes service costs varies from one agent to another but usually will include furnishings, cleaning, and can include utilities (gas water electricity).
- Watersysteemheffing ingezetenen: This is a levy for use of public water system of a private residence.
- Afvalstoffenheffng: A levy for refuse collection.
- Rioolheffng: A levy for connection to the sewage system.
If you would like free, professional advice on your rights and obligations as a tenant, we recommend that you get in touch with Wijksteunpunt. www.wijksteunpunt.nl
For more advice on tenant rights you can also consult www.huurders.info
10. Amsterdam neighbourhoods popular with expats
The most popular areas in Amsterdam for both Dutch at the current time are the Jordaan, central canal belt and de Pijp. These are also some of the busiest neighbourhoods as far as tourist traffic, but both offer many restaurants, bars and boutique stores and lovely surrounding. Due to their popularity they are also some of the most expensive areas to live.
Check out our thoughts on all the different neighbourhoods and why Amsterdam is one of the greatest cities to live in.