Squatting is illegal in the Netherlands and it has been a punishable offence since October 1, 2010. However, anti-squatting (or antikraak) is allowed. Anti-squatting protects empty buildings from (illegal) squatting and vandalism. By putting occupants in these buildings, they retain their value.
Anti-squatting can be a cheap and adventurous way to live while studying in the Netherlands. Most anti-squat buildings are not “normal” houses or apartments, but rather empty offices, schools, nursing homes, libraries etc.
What you need to know about anti-squatting (Antikraak)
Anti-squatting is cheap since you just pay the agency a (small) loan fee and/or service costs. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are thinking about anti-squatting:
- It’s temporary. The empty building you are staying in will either be sold to another party or torn down. This can take years, but if you are unlucky, merely months. This means you will have to be flexible.
- Usually there is a mutual notice period of 14-28 days. Again, flexibility is the key word here. You might only have 2 weeks to find yourself a new place.
- You are responsible for the building you are staying in. This means you will need to keep the building neat and clean at all times, especially since potential buyers might come by. Usually, the agency will also drop by to check if you are compliant with their rules. They will usually give notice, but on occasion, they may show up unannounced.
- You can’t make drastic changes to the décor. Minor changes are usually okay, but they will need to be approved by the agency.
- Some agencies work with a referral system. This means they will only consider you as a tenant if one of their current users introduces you.
- Some anti-squatting agencies charge a registration fee.
- There is more demand than supply, so there is a chance you will be put on a waiting list.
- The requirements vary per agency, but all agencies require you to be over 18.
Anti-squatting agencies and organisations in the Netherlands
Interested in anti-squatting? Here is a list of anti-squatting agencies and organisations in the Netherlands:
Please note that most of the above sites are in Dutch.