Today I write in English my friends. Because this is a topic that regards italians and non italians. Those who for one reason of another have been looking for an accommodation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Not tourists, that after all will probably end up sleeping in one of these slummy hostels of the red light district (I suggest STAYOKAY as a reliable hostel in Amsterdam ,please check). But all those expats starting up a new life in this wonderful rainy city. I herewith would like to give you some information about what any renter in Amsterdam should be aware of. And please use these infos to avoid scams.
To find a house, room or shared flat in Amsterdam is very difficult. Calculate that to find something suitable you might need up to two months. This is because first the rental housing sector is quite small. Out of 100 houses, approximately 46 are for social use. This means that the access is possible only through waiting list, and usually it takes between 5-8 years to get something in Amsterdam (otherwise, suburbs obviously). If you plan to stay very long and to have little jobs please subscribe to it (wooningnet.nl, studentenwooningnet per studenti) The private home owners is around 30 %. It means that 30 houses out of 100 are basically used by people owning them. Lastly, you have around 20& (please check the numbers, these are indicative) of market that might be available for rent. Of course not everybody gives rooms for rents, since rights for tenants are strong and one you are in it is rather difficult to push you out. For this reason many families owning houses decide to not rent out or to rent on the base of 1 year (or even less) long contracts. Forget the 4+4 Italian type contract and keep in mind that you might have to move.
Dear expat, you enter a very little market of rented out houses which obviously becomes very competitive. let’s say 10% (more or less) of these 100 houses are for rent. Of these 10, most are managed by agencies (Makelaars). These are real estate agents that manage free apartments. They get one month commission fee and therefore they obviously want to rent expensive ones. Moreover, they often ask for salary and payrolls up to around 40 times the monthly rent. IF you want an apartment costing 1000 euros a months, you should be earning a year salary of approximately 40.000 euros gross. Most of the expats are too poor. You could think to join somebody, your partner or a good friend, in that case you can add the other’s salary (not 100% but approximately 60%…check also these figures).
Therefore, dear expat, what you can get is approximately 10% of the total housing stock. This makes things hard, since the amount of expats in Amsterdam is really really high and there is a very high competition. Prices raise up sharply therefore. Market rules, high demand low offer = high prices.
Some prices so you know what you can get: within the ring road of Amsterdam you find places between 450 and 750 Euros. Depends on size and quality of the apartment. 600 euros is usually the price. This is of course pushed up by the home owners which knows that he can increase of let’s say 100-200 euros from the real value since there will be anyway the ‘umprepared’ expat that will pay that price. This happens very frequent. The right value of a good is what a person is willing to pay for it….So expect around 600 euros. Be aware: most of the rented houses are social houses subrented illegally. In this case you have to check whether the owner is the real owner and whether the quality of house is that of a social sector (check the toilet floor, the windows, the type of walls and ask around if you can).
Paradoxically there is a very strict regulation concerning rent in Amsterdam. The state has developed a score system through which you can actually calculate the fair price of a place from its characteristics (such as floor space, quality of the eating system etc..). Most of the houses in the market actually overtake this fair price (basically is the state that wants to control the free market). In this case you can (and you should) go to the so called ‘huurcommissie’, at the office of the district government. They will ask you where you live and calculate the fair price and start a procedure against the homeowner. They are rather quick, within 5-8 months they can reach a decision. If something is wrong they will have a fee for the homeowner and live you stay (!!) in the appartment for a much lower price (basically for free in some cases). I think everybody should know about this commission (Dutches know this very well). Be aware, this system doesn’t work for houses that are luxury houses, for which the homeowner can decide the price.
Few geographical tips. The north is relatively close to the centre and it is a bit cheaper (since you have to get the free of charge ferry to get to the station). Don’t pay too much there therefore. Barsjes and Bos en lommer are relatively cheaper. The city centre (red light district) is to avoid, the houses are expensive the living conditions are similar to third world country.
Last point. If you come to Amsterdam please leave high expectations in your country. The quality of the majority of the houses (even those at 650 euros) can be very disappointing from a point of view of other western countries. Especially in the inner city. The toilet is usually small, the floor is usually noisy, and windows might not be very new. The rooms are smaller, and kitchens also. Some houses have a shape that might look weird. With a large room and a middle size room, like a large storage room in which a human being could not properly live. Lastly, be aware of ground floors. This country is full of water, leakages are frequent. Belter first or second floor. Last but not the least, it is possible (actually likely) that you will have little mice in the house (don’t be scare, you can solve the problem and they are little and cute often)….
After all Amsterdam is a living experience. You will enjoy the city don’t worry.