Students

There are various ways to find housing in Utrecht. Finding a place to stay can be quite challenging, especially when you are still abroad. Also, at the start of the semester it is often more difficult to find accommodation than throughout the semester.

Finding accommodation yourself?

New international students and Erasmus students can apply for the reserved accommodation programme but the demand for this type of accommodation is high, it is only for the first year and availability is not guaranteed.  Especially if you are studying in Utrecht for a year or longer, it is good to explore various other options. However, do not underestimate the time and effort it takes to find a place to stay. There are a few important matters to take into account when looking for a house, as you can read in the information blocks below. 

Long term housing: SSH Regular accommodation

If you are a degree seeking student or PhD-candidate under the age of 27, and planning to stay in Utrecht for a year or more, it is probably wise to register with SSH Regular Accommodation for unfurnished longer term housing in students’ residences.

SSH is the largest student housing corporation in Utrecht. Most students who are enrolled at a Dutch educational institution can register with SSH to be eligible for a room in the Utrecht area. On their website, SSH refers to this as ‘Regular accommodations’. It is recommended to register with SSH ‘Regular accommodation’ as soon as you have decided to come to Utrecht, as it will increase your chances to find a place to stay after the first year.

Waiting time

Unfortunately, the waiting time for SSH ‘regular’ long term accommodation is considerable, from three months to over 18 months, depending on the time of the year and the location. In September, the demand for housing is very high, and even if you register with SSH upfront, it is not very likely that you will find accommodation this way on time for the start of the semester. However, some of their residences require a shorter waiting time, and sometimes they have temporary projects that are more quickly available (such as temporary unfurnished rooms). 

The vote-in tradition: hospiteren

It is tradition in Utrecht, like in many other Dutch university cities, that current tenants ‘select’ their new housemate at a so called ‘present yourself’-night. This typical phenomenon is called ‘hospiteren’ in Dutch and it applies to all types of shared student accommodation, including the Regular Accommodation by SSH. It means that if you have found a room in a shared house or flat, you have to be ‘voted in’ (elected) by the other residents. This can be quite competitive. It is not unusual that it takes several ‘hospiteer’ attempts before you are actually accepted. Still, registering with SSH for ‘Regular accommodation’ as soon as you know you will come to Utrecht will increase your chances to find a place to stay, especially after the first year.

If you intend to stay in the Netherlands even more permanently, you can register with the regional social housing service named Woningnet. SSH offer a combined registration for student housing and Woningnet.

> SSH Regular Accommodation

Finding a room on the private market

Even though SSH is the largest student housing foundation in Utrecht, an even bigger share of student housing is provided by private home owners. They advertise on the internet or through housing agencies, but also quite often, current tenants are allowed look for a new housemate themselves among their friends, acquaintances or fellow students. Therefore it is good to inform your network if you are looking for a room.

Although the rooms offered on room search websites such as www.Kamernet.nl, Facebook or other online platforms for housing may seem vast, that does not mean that you will automatically get a room if you respond to an advert. There are usually numerous candidates for each room and moreover, you often need to attend a present-yourself evening after which the current tenants decide who their new housemate will be: ‘hospiteren’. Also, private landlords, especially if they rent an entire apartment, might ask you for a proof of income to make sure that you can afford the rent. House sharing is not always allowed.

A few more tips and tricks

It is good to know that student housing in Utrecht is usually quite modest and considered quite expensive. Areas such as the historic city center are very popular among students and not very easy to get to. It is worth exploring housing outside the city center and even outside of Utrecht in surrounding communities. Considering temporary options might be interesting as well. From a temporary place to stay you can continue your search for a more permanent accommodation.

Laws and regulations

Rented housing is subject to regulations stipulated by the government. A summary in English of a number of relevant issues can be found on the website of the Dutch government. Questions about legal matters concerning your rent can be submitted to the Huurteam (rent team) of the municipal office of Utrecht.

More information

Below we have listed a number of agencies and websites that are frequently used by students looking for accommodation. Please note that these agencies and the accommodation they offer have not been verified or approved by the university. This is a referral service only, and unfortunately the university has no means to help you with this.

Housing agencies in Utrecht:

Websites for independent house hunting

  • www.housinganywhere.com (rooms on sublease, students-for-students only)
    This is a free student-to-student housing platform. Students from educational institutions in Utrecht and other Dutch university towns who go on exchange can put up their room for sublease here, and prospective students can apply (free of charge) for the rooms that are offered.
  • www.kamernet.nl (rooms)
  • www.kamerhuren.nl (rooms)
  • www.pararius.com (mostly apartments)

There are also a couple of active Facebook groups for housing in Utrecht, or you could consider placing a free ad in the online university magazine DUB

Always check for reliability

If you intend to enter into an agreement with a private person, do not make any payments in advance, and make sure that the housing offer and landlord you are dealing with can be trusted. Many students are looking for a room in Utrecht and unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of this situation by advertising fake rent offers. This is called scamming. In this blog by Kamernet, you can find some useful tips on how to recognise a rental scam and what to do when you are faced with scamming.

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