#rent a flat
How to Find a Rental Appartment in Amsterdam
Finding a flat/appartment or house to rent in Amsterdam can be a serious challenge for the expat. There is a significant housing shortage in the city – particularly in the central areas – and the market is skewed by rent controlled public housing and a few unscrupulous landlords and agents.
Here is some information to consider when trying to find somewhere to live in Amsterdam.
Social Housing (sociale huurwoningen )
You should first be aware that about a third of all dwellings (houses/appartments) in the Netherlands are rented from semi-public housing corporations (woningcorporatie ). These are available to Dutch residents on lower incomes (earning under 35,000) and rents are capped at a maximum of 711 monthly (2015).
Social housing is offered through a waiting list system. A resident who can show an economic tie to a Dutch city can join the housing list for that particular area. However, waiting list times can be many years and possibly even decades for prized central locations in Amsterdam where tenants tend to stay put.
So in reality, expats cannot rent from the social housing sector unless they have a Dutch partner who is renting one, or they do a short-term sublet. If you are moving in with someone who is a social housing tenant then you officially need a letter of permission from the housing corporation.
Suburbs in the Amsterdam area
There are various location choices for renting in the Amsterdam area. Rental prices in the inner canal belt are very expensive – many houses are rented as commercial offices.
Amsterdam’s inner suburbs such as Jordaan. the Museum Quarter. Oud Zuid. Oud West. De Pijp and Rivierenbuurt. are all very sought-after locations. Amsterdam Oost has a more edgy feel having been a working class and multicultural area, but is now up-and-coming thanks to renovation and development.
There have been major developments all along the IJ waterfront (at the back of central station) including the Zeeburg area with lots of modern appartments built.
Cheaper rents can be had in the outer suburbs such as Osdorp (west) and Bijlmer (south-east). Also consider the out-of-town town options such as Amstelveen (just south of Amsterdam), Haarlem and Zaandam .
Private Rental Market (huurwoningen )
Most expats will have to rent out a house (woonhuis ) or appartment (appartament ) from the private sector which accounts for less than 10% of the Dutch property market. You will have to pay market prices which can be significantly higher than the social housing rentals.
Appartments will be either fully furnished (gemeubileerd ), partly furnished (gestoffeerd ) or unfurnished (kaal ).
In Amsterdam, the rental price will obviously depend on the size of the property and its location. Expat rental budgets vary from the international corporate type working for a multinational to the young person / student seeking a cheaper house share or studio (see below).
Expect to pay about 800 to 1,500 per month for a reasonable sized 3 room appartment in the outer suburbs. The same appartment in a prime central location will set you back between 1,500 and 3,000 per month.
A small house in Amstelveen rents for 800- 1,800 whilst a larger house will set you back 2,000- 4,000 per month.
For something more quirky you could consider living on one of Amsterdam’s canal houseboats (woonboot ). Rental prices will be approximately 1,500- 2,500 per month – though supply is limited.
Searching for a Flat: Have a look at Funda (funda.nl – Dutch only) which has a comprehensive listing of rental properties (huurwoningen ) in the Netherlands including the Amsterdam area.
Alternatively you could talk to an estate agent (makelaar ) or housing agency. A good estate agent should be registered with the national association NVM – Nederlands Vereniging van Makelaars. You will normally have to pay a commission to the agent if you find a place through them – around 1 month’s rent.
Pararius (pararius.com) is a useful site with a large listing of rental properties from trusted agents. Direct Wonen (directwonen.nl) is another large agent whilst Perfect Housing (perfecthousing.com) is a housing agency catering to the high-end expat market.
If you are moving over on a work contract you may get your housing (partly) covered by your employer in some cases. Those here for shorter stays up to 6 months could use a serviced appartment.
If you plan to stay in the long term (5 years plus) you should probably consider buying a property in Amsterdam
Renting a Room / House Share
Sublets (onderhuur )
It is sometimes possible to sublet an appartment (including social housing appartments) from local residents who are leaving town for a period – from a few weeks to up to 12 months. This can work well for both parties – a fair rent can be negotiated which is often lower than the private market. A temporary house sitting contract can be drawn up where the renter agrees to look after the property / plants etc.
However, this is a grey area and you should take care – there are a few unscrupulous landlords who rent out poorly maintained corporation flats (illegally) at a high rent (cash only) to desperate expats. The renter cannot then register with the council which can cause bureaucracy problems. Also if you are in Amsterdam permanently then going from one short term let to another can be disruptive and stressful.
If you arrange to visit a flat please exercise some caution, especially if you are a lone female meeting a private landlord – we have heard some horror stories. Tell someone exactly where you are going or better still take a friend with you to the appointment.
Anti-Squat (anti-kraak )
Some students and young people register with an anti-squat organisations such as Camelot (nl.cameloteurope.com) or Adhoc (adhocbeheer.nl) which allows them to live temporarily in vacant buildings such as schools, warehouses, appartments and offices.