Renting as an expat in the Netherlands, what to look out for

Finding a house is hard, especially if you don’t speak the language, are not familiar with the law and do not know where to start looking. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who would like to take advantage of this fact, such as scammers, dishonest real estate agents and shady landlords. Read the following article carefully in order to arm yourself against them!

Housing scams in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the rest of the Netherlands

Online scammers are targeting expats who are desperately looking for a place in their new city. Due to the shortage of housing in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht there are plenty of people who will suspend their distrust in order to get an apartment in the city center.
Follow these rules if you don’t want to fall victim to the, many, online scams:

  • If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
    This is true for most things in life and unfortunately renting is no exception to this rule. If you find a 85 square meter apartment in the center of Amsterdam for 600 euros per month, it is a scam.
    There is no way that an apartment on this location would cost so little
  • Be wary of Marktplaats ads
    Marktplaats is a hotbed for people who try to make some money by renting out parts of their home, illegally most of the time. Be especially cautious of accounts that have only existed for a few days.
  • Do not pay anything before you have seen the apartment.
    A common way of scamming desperate house-seekers is claiming that the tenant-to-be has to pay an amount (usually 1 or 2 months rent) in order to get the keys. This would be done through an intermediary company, like AirBnB, and you would of course get this money back as soon as you sign the rental agreement.

    No legitimate landlord/real estate agent would operate in this way. Also, AirBnB does not offer these kinds of services, obviously.
  • Do not pay anything through WesternUnion.

Temporary and indefinite rental agreements, what’s the difference?

Dutch law knows  two types of rental agreements. Namely, a fixed-period or an indefinite period agreement. It is important to know the difference between the two

Indefinite rental agreement

An indefinite rental contract has no end date. The tenant can terminate the agreement, there is usually a notice  period attached to termination of a contract of one or two month. A landlord can only terminate the contract for specific reasons.

Rental agreement for certain amount of time

A temporary lease may last up to two years for houses that aren’t shared and up to five years for shared residences. These contracts end after the agreed period. Although the landlord does not have to terminate the lease (since that happens automatically after the agreed upon period), he must send a notice of the ending of the lease to the tenant. This notification should not be made earlier than three months and no later than one month prior to the end date. If the landlord fails to do this, the rental agreement will automatically be turned into a rental agreement for an indefinite amount of time and the tenant will have renters protection. 

What should be included in the contract?

  • name of the tenant;
  • name of the landlord;
  • the height of the rent (all-in payment in bare rent and service costs);
  • the height of the deposit;
  • the address and a description of the rented (such as how many rooms, living room, bathroom, garden);
  • the date of entry into the lease
  • the time and manner of payment;
  • the date on which the rent is increased;
  • the agreements on maintenance obligations;
  • the house rules;
  • the signature of the tenant and the landlord.

Who is responsible for the maintenance of my house or room?

The maintenance of your rental house or room is divided between you and the landlord. The landlord provides the larger maintenance. You are responsible for the small and daily maintenance of the rented living space.

In general, the following applies:

  • Small repairs are at the expense of the tenant. Major repairs and major maintenance are at the expense of the landlord.
  • Small repairs must be easy for the tenant to perform. And they can not bring a low cost. If not, the repair is still at the expense of the landlord.
  • Kitchen appliances are usually considered as real property of the house. These equipment will be rented by the landlord with the property. Repair of a broken built-in safe is then payable by the landlord.
  • The tenant must give the landlord access to the rental house, so that the landlord can perform the maintenance or repair.
  • You are responsible for repairs of damage caused by you. If the landlord also performs the small and daily repairs, the landlord may charge you the costs as a service charge.
  • Give valid reasons and notice to cancel the rental contract.

Did you know that:

In most cases, real estate agents/mediators are not allowed to charge renters for their services.

These fees, called ‘bemiddelingskosten’, used to be charged to new renters by real estate agents. They would often ask for once or twice the monthly rent as a service fee, even if the renter found the house on his/her own.

The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that this practice is no longer legal, and anyone who paid bemiddelingskosten is allowed to ask for their money back. Since this practice has been made illegal, real estate agents try to cover up these costs by calling it by a different name like ‘sleutelkosten’ / ‘contractskosten’ or ‘administratiekosten’.
Whatever they call it, having new renters pay a fee for a service that wasn’t provided is illegal.

Have you paid bemiddelingskosten and would you like to have these costs refunded? Legalee can help!

  • Bemiddelingskosten service: €75,00 including VAT.

Security deposits are rarely returned to expats.

Research has shown that expats rarely, if ever, get their security deposit back when moving out of their house. This is most likely due to the fact that landlords expect the expats to take their losses, since expats are mostly unfamiliar with Dutch law and they are often moving countries so do not have the time to pursue the case.

Legalee can help you get your security deposit back, even if you’re not in the Netherlands anymore!

  • Security Deposit service: €85,00 including VAT.

Dutch tenants are very well protected by the law.

The Dutch law has a lot of rules regarding the question on what a landlord is allowed to state in the rental agreement. Having illegal subject in the contract can cause (certain parts) of this contract to be void. It is important to know if your contract is in accordance with your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Legalee can check you contract before you sign. Since we know signing a rental agreement can be time sensitive we can check this agreement within 24 hours!

  • Contract Check: €95,00 including VAT.

Get in touch!

Do you have any questions regarding renting as an expat? Do not hesitate to ask them in the contact form below.

Filling in the contact form is completely non-committal and does nog oblige you to do, or pay, anything.


Fill in the form below and we will get back to you! You can also call us on: +31-(0)20-2101140 or send an e-mail to!

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