Finding a home
Renting a house or apartment
After the big move, most expats start by renting an apartment or house. If you know that you’re only going to be in the Netherlands for a relatively short amount of time (for example, on a fixed-term contract for a job), renting is generally the best option. And if you do end up staying longer, it gives you the opportunity to get to know the country, region or neighbourhoods and take your time to find a home you like. Most rental agreements start at 12 months and become more flexible after the first year – generally giving you the freedom to end your contract with a month’s notice.
Social housing, private sector and housing associations
There are two renting options available in the Netherlands: social housing (sociale huurwoning) and the private sector (vrije sector). Social housing is means tested, and there are generally long waiting lists, so most international arrivals rent in the private sector. Good places to start are housing websites like Funda (for both renting and buying property), Pararius (for private-sector rental), Rentslam (also private-sector rental) and Woningnet (for social housing).
When looking for a place to rent, it’s a good idea to register with a housing association. The downside is that waiting lists at these associations are often very long, especially when looking to rent in the big cities like Rotterdam or Amsterdam. Read more about Housing associations.
The Rent Act (Huurwet)
As a tenant, you’re protected under the Rent Act (Huurwet), which means the rental accommodation must meet certain criteria, and that both landlords and tenants must follow certain rules. If things don’t go as planned, you’re able to fall back on the rules listed in your contract, which often include issues regarding deposits, rent, maintenance and service charges.
Rental allowance (huurtoeslag)
When renting a home in the Netherlands, you might be eligible for a subsidy on your rental costs, known as huurtoeslag, if you meet certain criteria.
Getting a mortgage
If you’re living in the Netherlands for a longer period, buying your own home might make more sense, financially and personally. Mortgages in the Netherlands usually run for a 20-to-30-year term, but it's also possible to opt for a shorter period. Another thing that’s good to know: the interest you pay on your mortgage is partially tax-deductible. Get in touch with your bank or a mortgage advisor to find out more about taking out a mortgage in the Netherlands, as well as eligibility requirements and the types of mortgages on offer.