Top 10 reasons for using a certified rental agent to find property in the Netherlands
Looking for a rental property in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands, and wondering where to begin? A certified rental agent can help you avoid the often-costly mistakes expats can unknowingly make when signing a lease in the Netherlands.
Without solid knowledge of the market, the language and the laws relating to rental properties, searching for rental accommodation as an expat can be a murky process. Amsterdam-based, certified real estate experts 27 House Real Estate offers ten ways working with a rental agency can help you avoid the pitfalls of renting property in the Netherlands.
Gain access to unlisted properties
Because the best rental properties usually rent quickly, it is often the case that listed properties are already rented before they appear on real estate websites. Working with an agent gives you access to unlisted properties, maximising your chances of finding what you want. In addition, many properties listed on websites are illegal sublets—either social housing that is not permissible to sublet or properties for which owners do not have a buy-to-rent mortgage—and this can put you at risk of eviction.
Expand your market knowledge
For expats especially, it is difficult to get to know the various cities and neighbourhoods to the depth that a rental agent does. Agents are very knowledgeable about the rental market, and have access to databases that indicate what the value of a property is so you don’t overpay. This can be especially problematic for expats looking for rental properties in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands, where the price for a rental apartment may sound reasonable compared with their home country, even though their Dutch neighbours may be paying less. Every apartment has a maximum rent, and an agent will be aware of that.
Aside from the monthly rental costs, there are other factors to consider when renting a property, such as who will pay the municipal taxes, whether the property is furnished (which can sometimes mean additional costs), whether bills are all-inclusive and how long the rental contract is for. Some laws may differ from your home country and it’s important to not make assumptions. For example, in 2004 a law was passed about which repairs are the financial responsibility of the landlord (such as furnace repairs) and which are the responsibility of the tenant (cleaning gutters, for example). A rental agent can help you form a clear agreement with your landlord so there are no nasty surprises.
Agents are well versed in laws surrounding rental properties and will help you ensure your agreement with your landlord complies with the latest laws, from writing contracts to local housing codes to contract termination. For example, if you are renting an apartment in the Netherlands, you have a lot of rights that expats may not be aware of. Your landlord, for example, cannot end your agreement (written or verbal) other than in extreme cases (failure to pay the rent, for example). In such circumstances, landlords have to go to court to argue for the termination of the tenant.
A rental agent is very knowledgeable about the city and neighbourhoods where you are looking to rent. An agent will help you find what you are seeking, be it an active, busy area or a quiet family neighborhood. They can also advise on where the best schools are or the best access to public transport. This local knowledge will help refine your search and save you time.
Agreeing to the terms of a contract written in a language you don’t speak can be daunting—and risky. With an agent, you have support with translations and negotiations if you do not speak Dutch, and you avoid the costs and hassle of hiring a certified translator yourself.
Many apartments for shorter-term rentals are furnished, but others are completely empty, including having no light fixtures or carpets. Your agent will visit the property with you to take an inventory of what is there so there are no surprises when you move in and no conflicts when you leave.
Assistance setting up utilities
Once you have signed your rental agreement, an agent will continue to work with you to ensure you are registered with the utility companies (water, electric, gas) and have telephone/Internet service. This can be confusing to do on your own if you are not a Dutch speaker, as much of the information about utilities in the country is not available in other languages.
To ensure the landlord is comfortable with you as a tenant, an agency will often organise a reference check, to verify that you have the means to pay the rent and have been a reliable tenant in the past. Equally, to ensure your landlord is legitimate has the right to rent the apartment to you, your rental agent can help you register your address at the local municipality. You are legally obliged to do so, and if your prospective landlord says you cannot, it’s a sign of an illegal sublet.
Many agencies work together with corporate clients, human resource departments and relocation companies to help you find your ideal property if relocating with your job. They are therefore accustomed to helping expats navigate the rental market and are aware of the ways in which the Dutch system may differ from expats’ home countries. Many rental agencies in Amsterdam also belong to one of the city’s rental associations such as the VVA, and they use the same legal team for drafting contracts and give preference to others in the network.
27 House Real Estate / Expatica
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