Business Development Director, joined Perfect Housing in 2005. I worked for a couple of years in Spa...
5 tips for working with a rental agency in the Netherlands27 August 2014, by Joost Luttge
Perfect Housing is a full-service rental agency listing a large, screened portfolio of properties from partner providers in the Netherlands.
Finding your new home with a rental agent is one of the first and most important steps in setting up your life in a new city or country. But working with a rental agency can be tricky, there are many out there, and the right one can be hard to find.
Here are five tips for selecting and working with rental agencies in the Netherlands:
1. Choosing a rental agency
The first step is to choose your agency - ideally work with one that has been recommended to you. If not, find a company that works on a no-cure no-pay basis. This means the customer only pays the agency if a rental property is found and secured.
Find one, or maximum two, agencies to work with, and then see whether their service is satisfactory. Registering with too many can lead to an overwhelming number of property viewings and unnecessary stress. Besides, most who are members of the rental agency association can access each other’s properties.
When selecting a housing agency it is recommended go with a specialist and not a real estate company providing rental services on the side. Specialised agencies can provide the most tailored assistance during the house hunting period.
The Dutch housing market, unfortunately, also includes a number of illegal apartments. It is important to make sure your chosen rental agency has a portfolio with properties that are not illegally sublet. An organisation with at least 50 properties in their portfolio is a good indicator.
2. Working with your agent
When agreeing to work with your agency it’s important to determine the focus of their services: if they are employed by you then they will be representing you as their client. However if they are paid by the property owner then their priorities will lie with the landlord. Make sure the position of the agency is clear before reaching an agreement.
A good agent offers advice and guidance and negotiates with the property owner to get the most out of the deal for their client; their success depends on the client’s satisfaction.
3. The property hunt
Working with a large rental agent can save a lot of property search hassle as they can allow for all viewings to be done in one day, whilst providing a broad network of apartments.
Moving to a new country is always a big transition, and getting to know the housing market in such a short period is almost impossible, especially one as complex as the Dutch.
For expats and foreigners rental agencies can provide all the "need to know" information about the Dutch market, including pointing out apartments which offer good value, and most importantly negotiating on behalf of the client.
4. Contract & Legalities
A major advantage of working with a rental agent is that they investigate for any legal issues and ensure that everything is done above board. They then draw up a clear and detailed rental contract, conforming to Dutch regulations, that is binding for both parties.
During check-in the agent provides assistance and documents the current state of the apartment. At the termination of the lease the agent also provides help and advice to ensure the correct deposit is returned within two months after check-out.
5. Help during the rental period
After a property has been secured the agent remains available for assistance during the rental period. A good agency offers ongoing tenant support to ensure maintenance, help resolve issues and offer guidance about the property.
Tenants communicate directly with the landlord, but in case an issue is ongoing, your agent can mediate with the landlord on your behalf. It is important to check early with your rental agency to see if they offer this service.
Once you have completed the rental process then you can start enjoying life in your new home!
Joost Luttge is a business development director at Perfect Housing, where he provides support to international clients and companies with rental property requirements in the Netherlands.