International students victim to unsavoury landlords in the Netherlands
Student housing is not the easiest to come by, and because of the scarcity of available rooms, international students are being exploited. The Dutch Student Union (LSVb) feels that this can no longer go on and has thus raised the alarm.
International students exploited
In four year’s time, the number of international students in the Netherlands has doubled, from 58.000 in 2013 to 122.000 in 2017. All of these students need to find a room, and usually do so from abroad, making them more vulnerable to scammers and shady landlords.
As they cannot visit the room they are applying for, or meet the landlord, these students often unknowingly agree to tiny spaces for high rental prices and contracts with odd clauses. Not knowing Dutch rules and regulations regarding rentals does not help.
According to the Woonbond, the national association of tenants, international students are easy targets. The association tries to inform those who come to study in the Netherlands as well as they can, but they are a difficult group to reach.
Accommodation shortage for foreign students
The LSVb is calling on universities to stop trying to attract international students if they cannot provide them with accommodation. Dutch universities, on the other hand, point to the fact that they cannot just refuse university places to European students.
Many universities in the Netherlands are desperately trying to keep up with the growth of students by searching for extra places they can use for accommodation. The University of Amsterdam has increased its number of guaranteed rooms for international students from about 2.500 to 3.162 by organising rooms in the Bijlmer Tower and a holiday park.
Other higher education institutions in the Netherlands are, similarly, looking at holiday parks to help solve the room shortage problem. The shortage however, cannot be solved overnight. Kences, student housing expertise centre and alliance of student housing providers, is aware of the problem. According to spokesperson Ardin Mourik, housing corporations, municipalities and universities have underestimated the influx of international students.
If you are an international student coming to the Netherlands, don’t get caught out by scammers or shady landlords, read these tips!