Housing in Amsterdam

There are rules and regulations protecting tenants’ rights in the Netherlands. Many tenants, especially expats, aren’t sufficiently aware of this. We would like to help you, free of charge, with all your questions regarding renting and living in Amsterdam. We are an independent non-profit organisation funded by the Amsterdam city council. We provide independent and confidential advice and support for tenants, free of charge.  There is always a !WOON office in your neighborhood.

Once you have a contract and housing you pay the rent – check if it is correct! – and service costs, the landlord takes care of the maintainance except for small ‘daily repairs’. Whatever the contract sys, the law always has the final say, regardless of what’s in your lease. There are rules regarding rent control, furnishing and service charges. Housing agencies in Amsterdam also have to abide by the rules and can be held accountable if you are being charged too much rent. In case of doubt or discussion with the landlord or agency, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Most contracts starting before Juli 2016 are for an indefinite period of time. As of July 1st 2016 more options for temporary rental contracts have become legal. Private landlords can now include a maximum rental term in the contract: up to two years for individual housing and up to five years for shared housing. The contract should clearly specify a starting date and an end date.

For 2 years contracts tenants can give notice before the end date, landlords cannot. If landlords don’t want to extend the contract they have to inform the tenants at least one month (but no longer than three months) before the contract ends. If this isn’t done in time, or if the contract is extended, then the contract no longer has an end-date. It automatically becomes indefinite.

Minimum rental terms in contracts for less than two years are no longer expected to hold up in court. Contracts with minimum rental terms of more than two years will be considered indefinite, with no end date.

Housing that is up for sale can also be rented out temporarily, if the landlord has a “Leegstandwet” permit. This should be clearly stated in the contract. Social housing companies (“woningcorporaties”) can only offer temporary contracts to specific tenants. For example to students, with the contract ending when their studies end.

Residence permit
In Amsterdam there is a great housing shortage for people who want to live in the city. This is why people who are looking for a reasonably priced house have to comply with the rules set by the Amsterdam authorities. For a self-contained house with a rent of under € 710,68 (index 2016) you need residence permission (“huisvestingsvergunning”) from the Dienst Wonen. To get a residence permit you have to work or study in the Amsterdam area or you have to have lived there for at least two years.
If that is not the case, you will probably have to accept a room in someone else’s house or in the attic. Usually you can use your landlord’s kitchen, toilet and bathroom.

English publications and more information

  • Our folder ‘Renting for new Amsterdammers’ will be upladed soon.
    When expat tenants become more aware of Dutch rules and regulations regarding housing they greatly improve their chances of being treated fairly in the Dutch housing market. Some of the common topics like security of tenure, deposits, agency fees, rent, service charges, maintenance problems, etc. are discussed briefly in this folder.
  • Our blogpost “Tips on avoiding housing scams
    If you are looking to rent an apartment in Amsterdam, or in the rest of the Netherlands, here are some safety tips you might want to keep in mind. Of course there are many legitimate letting agents around, but unfortunately there are also quite a few unpleasant characters who especially target expat tenants.
  • Our blogpost “How to reclaim unjust agency fees
    A lot of expats living in Amsterdam have paid a fee to an agent. According Dutch law in most cases this is not permitted. Here you can read what you can do if you did pay a fee.
  • Our folder ‘Additional Rental Costs‘. Many additional housing costs are not covered by the basic rent. These costs are, however, strictly regulated in the Netherlands. Many tenants (especially expats) are not sufficiently aware of the laws. Read more to learn about your rights with regards to these costs and what to do if you are being overcharged.
  • Our folder “About your deposit, and how to get it back‘. The title says it all. This brochure explains the rules regarding deposits and explains how to get your deposit back.
  • Article “Are housing agencies allowed to demand a fee from the tenant?”  in the Expat magazine “The Sentinel”.
  • Article “Fair Rent for All” in the Expat magazine “The Sentinel”.

  See also:


Non-commercial room agencies for students

ASVA Studentenunie kamerbureau
The 3 housing corporations which let studentflats in Amsterdam work together in the organization “studentenwoningweb”. You can find information and a registrationform on their website.