If you are looking for a room on the private market there are a number of important things to keep in mind:
Due to the high demand for student housing in and around Utrecht, finding a room can take up a lot of time and effort. An added difficulty can be looking for a room in a shared house when still abroad, as the housemates, but also the landlord, will usually want to meet you. It is important to take this in consideration and start your search well in advance.
- Suggest to attend the viewings via skype if you are still abroad
- Consider coming to the Netherlands before the start of the semester in order to attend the viewings in person
- Consider accepting temporary housing for the start of the semester from where you can continue your search to more permanent accommodation
- Increase your chances of finding housing by also searching in surrounding towns and cities
- Actively use your social (media) network and keep telling people that you are looking for accommodation
- Once you are in the Netherlands consider joining a student association or mentor programme to create a network of friends and peers
Unfortunately, some people will try to take advantage of the high demand for rooms in and around Utrecht by advertising fake offers. This is called scamming. It is very important that you always check for reliability.
- Use common sense. If an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is
- Do some research to make sure that the agency, the housing offer and landlord are legitimate. Besides for example a Google search, you can check the address in the Dutch Land Registry Database
- If you intend to enter into an agreement with a private person, do not make any payments in advance
- Check this blog by Kamernet with useful tips on how to recognise a rental scam and what to do when you are faced with scamming
The number of available rooms through ads and listings may seem vast but it is important to know that there are usually numerous people who respond to each ad. The landlord, tenants or agency commonly selects a number of candidates for a viewing from the respondents, which can be quite competitive. Advertisements are also not always up to date and already rented out. Responding to an advertisement therefore does not mean you automatically get the room.
- Keep responding to numerous ads and don’t be too picky
- Do not limit yourself to just one or two housing websites but subscribe and check multiple sites and pages
The current tenants will often get to decide who their new housemate will be during a viewing. This is called ‘hospiteren’ or ‘hospiteeravond’ in Dutch.
During the viewing, a group of selected candidates presents themselves to the current tenants. The current tenants decide afterwards who they like best. Most students go through numerous attempts and viewings before they successfully find accommodation.
- Suggest to attend the viewing via Skype if you are still abroad
- Consider coming to the Netherlands before the start of the semester so you can attend the viewings in person
- Prepare yourself for a ‘hospiteeravond’. You can find some dos and don’ts on this blog by the popular housing platform Kamernet
House sharing is not always allowed due to local regulations. Besides that, most landlords or agencies prefer to rent to a single person or couple, rather than to a group of students. Landlords and agencies will also often desire a proof of income to make sure that you can afford the rent.
- Besides looking with a group, also continue your search for accommodation on your own
The Dutch housing market is for a large part liberalised and landlords are free to come to an agreement with a tenant about the rent. The average rent in Utrecht is higher than in most other towns and cities in the Netherlands.
However, rent can often be determined with the Rent Points System. On the basis of the Rent Points System you can request to have your rent reassessed, even after you signed your rental contract. The calculation is based on the size, amenities and quality of the accommodation.
Student rooms via the private market are usually unfurnished. Besides buying new furniture at for example Ikea, there are several ways to arrange furniture with a lower budget.
- Ask the previous tenant if they would like to sell on some items to you
- Rent your furniture from a specialised company like Student Furniture Holland
- Buy furniture in one of the many second hand shops in or around Utrecht ('kringloopwinkel' in Dutch)
- Search for furniture deals on the Dutch online trade platform Marktplaats
- Post an ad or respond to listings on Facebook communities of flats and neighbourhoods