If you’re planning a short-term stay in Amsterdam (under five years), renting is your best bet. After all, contracts can be easily changed and you’re spared the effort of making major repairs or maintenance. Beat the competition to the door with our practical guide to rental property.
Finding housing in a new city always requires some research. If you’re planning to rent in Amsterdam, the most common option for expats is to rent property in the private sector. Private rental accommodation with a rental price greater than €710.68 (according to the House Value Rating System) is not subsidised and there are no pre-conditions as to your eligibility. While the rental price of these homes are likely to be more expensive than with social housing, the likelihood of finding a place quickly is far greater.
If you rent a home in the private sector with a rental price less than or equal to €710.68, you will require a housing permit (huisvestingsvergunning) and your income may not exceed €43,786 per year. Learn more about the application process for a housing permit (in Dutch).
For more information on the House Value Rating System, please see our overview of housing rights. To determine whether or not you will be eligible for housing benefits as a new tenant, you can visit the website www.toeslagen.nl and make a personal calculation on the basis of your age, income and basic rent.
To help get you on the rental property ladder, we suggest you try:
Rooftrack: Rooftrack is an initiative of WoningNet and offers a wide range of available properties in the non-subsidised rental market. Rooftrack's website displays properties from both housing corporations as well as professional property management firms. The website is free of charge and available in English.
Specialised letting agencies (verhuurbureaus): Always check that your agency has a licence from the municipal authorities.
Estate agents (makelaars): A good starting point is the MVA, the professional association for estate agents active in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. MVA agents can help with renting, leasing out or valuing a home and give information and advice about the Amsterdam housing market.
In the private sector landlords usually ask for a deposit, which is typically the equivalent of one or two months’ rent. As for contracts, tenancy agreements can be concluded for fixed periods of time and changed at the discretion of the tenant (or landlord, depending on the circumstances). You should therefore read your tenancy agreement carefully. For example, if you want a house or apartment for six months, do not sign an agreement for a year.
Another possibility is to look into social housing options. The Netherlands has the biggest public housing sector in Europe, the majority of which is owned by private, non-profit housing associations. These rental dwellings are primarily aimed at lower income groups, with a maximum rent capped by law. However, with a waiting list of between 5-10 years, social housing is not a favourable option for most expats. You also have to meet strict criteria:
To be eligible for social housing, you must:
Satisfy certain conditions, one being that your monthly income is below a certain level. Until 1 January 2016, housing associations are allowed to exclusively let their social homes (basic rent up to €710.68) to people with a maximum income up to €35,739 (taxable income of the entire household). The landlord will apply for a housing permit for you.
Be in the municipality where you are looking for housing, for instance because you work there. The landlord will only obtain a housing permit for you if you satisfy all the stipulated conditions.