Most foreign nationals who move to Utrecht Region start out by renting an apartment or house. If you are staying for a short period, renting is probably your best option. Rental contracts generally have an initial duration of 12 months and become flexible after the first year. This is very convenient and you are not responsible for any major repairs or ongoing maintenance. In the Netherlands, there are two options for renting: social housing (sociale huur) and the private sector (vrije sector).
For people whose incomes are less than 43,574 euros a year (2020), the social housing market is a good option. Social housing is significantly cheaper than renting on the private market and is rigorously controlled. Allocation is based on need and annual income. In Utrecht Region, however, there are long waiting lists. For the major cities, the waiting period currently tends to be at least three years. If you want to look for social housing, you can register via Woningnet (website is in Dutch).
For people who do not qualify for social housing, there is the private rental sector. This market is driven by demand. As a result, rents are higher. Prices can go from 300 euros (monthly) for student housing up to 2,000 euros for multiple room apartments. A deposit is also required, usually the equivalent of one or two months’ rent.
In the private rental sector, landlords are responsible for maintenance. It is important to know that both the tenant and the landlord have statutory rights and responsibilities. Make sure you know about these rights and obligations and the contract details before signing your first rental agreement.
Do you want to find out if your rent is fair? Or would you like to have your rental agreement checked? Huurteam Utrecht can help.
Things to look for in a rental contract
Before signing a contract, make sure you check all the details.
- The rental price and whether it includes service charges, energy bills and local property, waste disposal and sewage taxes, etc.
- Deposit: the equivalent of one or two months’ rent is normal.
- The duration of the contract: most are fixed for one year with a notice period of one month from either party if you want or need to leave the property.
- Ascertain who is responsible for maintenance and repairs.
- Ask the rental agency whether it charges a mediation fee.
- Woningnet provides social housing (website in Dutch)
- There are several Facebook groups for internationals looking and offering rentals
- Check out if you are eligible for rent benefits
In the Netherlands, there is a contribution available towards rental costs called huurtoeslag. If you are renting, you may be entitled to this rent benefit. To qualify, you need to meet certain conditions. You can apply for the benefit via the Tax and Customs Administration. Please note that you must have a citizen service number (BSN).