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Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

Old Jul 31st 2019, 8:41 am
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Exclamation Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

From those of us who live here and understand the shortage of decent /affordable accommodation, and the vulnerability of incomers desperate to find homes in a city where property moves fast, always always remember that

If it looks like a con and it feels like a con, it's probably a con.

News article today: Conman 'Estate Agent' rips off at least 30 expats

If you are trying to move here, protect yourself. If you can, see if your new employer will hook you up with a NVM registered makelaar (estate agent) who will know which are legal rentals. If that's not an option and you're on your own, then please read on for useful info. The following is copied from the website !Woon ~ Thuis in de stad which is full of valuable information.



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. In general it is safer to rent through members of established realtors’ organisations like the
MVA or the NVM than through unattached agencies. If you live in Amsterdam and have any other questions about housing rentals you can contact WOON in your area. Our advice is confidential and free of charge.

Here are some tips on avoiding scams in the Dutch rental market:
  • Does the offer sound too good to be true? Then it probably is. Cheap rental accommodation in the city centre is extremely rare. Be extra alert if you are being offered an apparently amazing deal. If you feel uncomfortable, if things don’t seem quite right, pay attention to that feeling and be extra cautious.
  • Don’t do business with landlords who only offer an email address, a mobile phone number and/or a Facebook page. Ask for more information to establish who you are dealing with, such as an actual business address or residential address. Ask for proof of ID, check it, do an internet search about this person or company. Be aware that ID copies sent via email can be fakes. This often occurs in combination with requests to transfer money via Western Union.
  • You can check who owns the apartment via the Kadaster property register. If you live in Amsterdam and need assistance with this the Meldpunt Ongewenst Verhuurgedrag can help. If the owner and the prospective landlord are not the same ask for an explanation, and if necessary ask for a written authorisation confirming that the landlord and/or agency are acting on the owner’s behalf.
  • Be extra careful about renting an apartment you haven’t seen. If you’re not in the country yet, can you ask someone to inspect the apartment for you? A colleague, friend, classmate, etc.?
  • Before you hand over large sums of money, check the keys and make sure they work. If you can’t do this yourself, again: perhaps you can ask friends, colleagues etc. to check the apartment. Be aware that even this is not a guarantee, but it definitely improves your chances.
  • If possible, talk to the neighbours. Do they know the apartment? Do they know who lives there? Any extra information can help you assess whether the person offering the apartment can be trusted.
  • Apartment ads on websites like facebook, marktplaats.nl, craigslist, or other advertising websites aren’t always reliable. There are many illegal sublets on offer. You could end up paying lots of money but still being evicted or even fined.
  • Ask if you can register with the council at the address (“inschrijven”). If the answer is no, that’s a red flag. It might be an illegal sublet, or a tax scam, or who knows what is going on.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured. Scammers are often in a hurry. They will push you to quickly sign the lease (because supposedly there are many other interested parties, or because they need to leave the country to go visit their sick relative, or whatever). Demand enough time to properly assess the situation, the apartment and the contract.
  • Scammers sometimes ask for various kinds of fees, as well as a deposit. Deposits are legal, but often many other fees such as agency fees, disproportionally high administration fees, contract fees, etc. are not. Recently many expat tenants have successfully had their agency fees refunded. If you live in Amsterdam !WOON can help you reclaim such unjust fees.
  • Preferably pay via bank transfer. Demands for other types of payment, such as transfers via companies like Western Union or cash payments (especially payments without receipts), are another red flag. If you have to pay cash, make sure you get a signed receipt. Have witnesses present when you make cash payments. Send confirmation emails to the landlord or the agency. Use your phone to record the conversation during your cash payment. In this conversation try to clearly mention the amount, the reason you are paying (like “this is September’s rent”), name the apartment’s address, and the recipient. In general: build a file. Keep print-screens of the apartment’s advertisement, and keep all emails.
  • If you still got scammed, immediately contact the police and press charges.


For further information: +31 20 52 30 130 www.wooninfo.nl/english
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Old Aug 9th 2019, 9:27 am
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Default Re: Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

I often considered a move to Amsterdam. However I was always put off by that, mainly due to the housing / rental market there. I am not in Amsterdam at the moment, but judging from afar, it seems a very hard rental market. It also seems an AirBnB hotspot, not sure, if they are taking long term rental space or not. However it's only one indications of many.

Salaries in my industry and the cost of renting don't seem to be a good balance in Amsterdam.
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Old Aug 9th 2019, 11:38 am
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Default Re: Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

Hi Mango,

Amsterdam housing market can be hectic, but it's also possible. Like most things, if you're happy to compromise and not live right in the centre (no need to anyway, as transport to/from work is paid for by employers - eg rail ticket) then you will find something quite easily. However living in the centre comes both with noise 24/7, and a place on the waiting list for a car parking permit, so driving could be out of the question for a year or so.

Many people start off further out in one of numerous commuter towns or neighbouring city and move inwards when they have the chance (or vice versa depending on taste). This is also because estate agents don't take you seriously until you're on the ground here: As turnover in housing stock is so fast, they won't wait for two months to show a property that they could place renters in within the week. I work with people who live as far away as Nijmegen (on the border with Germany) who commute the 1.5 hour train ride in each morning. I live 20km outside Amsterdam and it takes me roughly the same travel time as I don't have a train nearby so have several connections. You could be in Amsterdam Centre within 15 mins from Haarlem, 35 mins from the university city of Leiden, etc. In 50 mins, you could be in other less-known but characterful cities such as Gouda, where housing is far more affordable, even with a canal view.

I would always approach living here with a different checklist than 'I want to live in xxxx'. If you have a list of things that are most important to you (eg. easy parking for car or high frequency transport links? More or less living space per euro? Newer properties with energy efficiency or character properties with higher energy bills and possibly small, furry co-inhabitants? Lots of musea/art galleries or lots of recreational space for walks/rides/sports? Living in a place where you hear every other world language spoken except Dutch and everyone responds in English, or in a place where people will actually speak back to you in Dutch so that you learn quickly?) From a list like this, it's easier to think about alternatives, even if that alternative is just to put you on for a while as you establish yourself and identify your dream location - which may or may not be the one you originally thought it would be.
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Old Aug 9th 2019, 6:30 pm
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Default Re: Housing Amsterdam - renter beware!

Originally Posted by Red_Wine_Fairy View Post
Hi Mango,

Amsterdam housing market can be hectic, but it's also possible. Like most things, if you're happy to compromise and not live right in the centre (no need to anyway, as transport to/from work is paid for by employers - eg rail ticket) then you will find something quite easily. However living in the centre comes both with noise 24/7, and a place on the waiting list for a car parking permit, so driving could be out of the question for a year or so.

Many people start off further out in one of numerous commuter towns or neighbouring city and move inwards when they have the chance (or vice versa depending on taste). This is also because estate agents don't take you seriously until you're on the ground here: As turnover in housing stock is so fast, they won't wait for two months to show a property that they could place renters in within the week. I work with people who live as far away as Nijmegen (on the border with Germany) who commute the 1.5 hour train ride in each morning. I live 20km outside Amsterdam and it takes me roughly the same travel time as I don't have a train nearby so have several connections. You could be in Amsterdam Centre within 15 mins from Haarlem, 35 mins from the university city of Leiden, etc. In 50 mins, you could be in other less-known but characterful cities such as Gouda, where housing is far more affordable, even with a canal view.

I would always approach living here with a different checklist than 'I want to live in xxxx'. If you have a list of things that are most important to you (eg. easy parking for car or high frequency transport links? More or less living space per euro? Newer properties with energy efficiency or character properties with higher energy bills and possibly small, furry co-inhabitants? Lots of musea/art galleries or lots of recreational space for walks/rides/sports? Living in a place where you hear every other world language spoken except Dutch and everyone responds in English, or in a place where people will actually speak back to you in Dutch so that you learn quickly?) From a list like this, it's easier to think about alternatives, even if that alternative is just to put you on for a while as you establish yourself and identify your dream location - which may or may not be the one you originally thought it would be.
Thanks for the insight. My opinion was only based on personal research from a distance and a couple of job interviews where they have flown me in. NL might be a further consideration. I also didn't know that employers would pay for the commute? That's surprising. I noticed that public transport was top notch.
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