Accommodation in Amsterdam can be difficult to find, especially at a good price. There is a constant demand for property – even low-quality rentals are highly sought after. Because of this competitive housing market, most expats will find themselves renting, rather than buying.
The cost of accommodation in Amsterdam continues to rise and this is especially the case the closer one moves to the city centre. For this reason, many expats choose to look for property in smaller villages outside the city.
Types of accommodation in Amsterdam
An array of housing options can be found in Amsterdam, but most properties are in the form of small apartments, especially in the inner city. While the standard of these varies, prices can be considered high regardless.
To save money, many expats, especially young working professionals and international students, opt for a flat share in Amsterdam. Tenants will have a room to themselves while sharing kitchen and living room spaces with flatmates.
Serviced apartments are a popular option among business travellers in Amsterdam. These are fully equipped properties with attractive amenities including spas and gyms.
Expats wanting more space and a home with a garden may need to look outside the city limits.
Both furnished and unfurnished apartments are available, as well as semi-furnished properties with kitchen appliances and some basic furniture. However, typical rental contacts and costs may vary according to the level of furnishings, so keep a look out for this when signing a lease.
Finding accommodation in Amsterdam
Finding suitable accommodation in Amsterdam can be a challenge as demand often exceeds supply.
There are various online property portals which can be used to search for accommodation, including IamExpat Media, Engel & Völkers and Pararius. Word of mouth and networking with local contacts through social media platforms may also prove successful routes when house hunting.
We also advise expats to consider using a rental agency or relocation firm. Real estate professionals have a better idea of the areas in the city and can help navigate the rental process. Most agencies advertise on large online property portals. They're quite competitive, so expats should compare prices.
Renting accommodation in Amsterdam
We recommend prospective tenants carefully read their tenancy agreements and understand the necessary processes of renting property in Amsterdam.
All expats must provide their citizen service number known as a BSN (burgerservicenummer). Bank statements may also be requested as a guarantee of credit, while those working in the Netherlands may need to provide their employment contract.
Once expats have found suitable accommodation, they will need to sign a rental agreement. These may set a fixed period of stay, often six months or one year, or may be valid for an indefinite period.
The rental agreement must include the rental amount, the length of the contract, the rules of the house, the date on which the rent will be increased and any stipulations regarding the maintenance of the property.
Expats should note that, verbal contracts are legally viable in the Netherlands, however, it is best that the rental contract is a written agreement.
A deposit of one to three months’ rent is common to secure a property. To avoid any disputes with the return of the deposit, it's recommended to detail a full inventory of any furniture in the property and the standard of the accommodation.
Utilities and municipal taxes are not always included in the rental agreement and the tenant may be responsible for paying these. This should be clearly stated in the rental agreement.
►For a more comprehensive overview of the property market, see Accommodation in the Netherlands
"Because most housing in the city is considered to be “historic monuments,” expats often find apartments small and dated. There’s a lot of variation from run-down to luxurious renovations." Harini and Eric rate Amsterdam's housing in this expat interview.
"The rate of housing is limited. There is a shortage and quite scary. It's very crowded here. My suggestion is to use a realtor, have a lot of funds because it isn't cheap and to give more than three months time for the search. I was in the same boat for a few months but you must hustle to get something. The homes here are quite modern but you must worry about some homes near canals as there may be foundation issues." Read our interview with Monique for tips into securing a home in Amsterdam.
Are you an expat living in Amsterdam?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Amsterdam. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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