How to manage your Dutch apartment while living abroad
Property Manager Amsterdam is a dedicated property management service providing peace of mind to home owners at a reasonable price.
If you buy an apartment as an expat in the Netherlands then there is a good chance that you will move abroad at some point - either temporarily or permanently.
In such cases, rather than selling your hard-earned Dutch property, you can rent it out as an investment until you return.
Once you have set up a well-organised management system then you can keep costs, time and stress to a minimum.
Find someone to manage your property
It will be impossible for you to directly manage the property while you are abroad, so it's essential to have someone local to help. This might be a reliable friend, a rental agency or a specialised property manager.
› Help from friends
It is important that you find someone you trust to manage your property, and that you both have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
If you have a friend managing your property then you need to know that management goes beyond just a simple favour, as they will need to put time into this task every month - potentially for years. Offering to pay them a fee can help to formalise the arrangement.
In my business, I have noticed many clients coming to me after their friend has become tired of doing them a favour, so they turn to a dedicated professional for assistance.
› Rental agents
Some Dutch rental agencies offer property management, however it’s important to note that this is often just a side service from their main business, meaning that they cannot offer the same services as dedicated property managers.
› Property managers
Professional property managers can take over the complete running of your apartment, taking care of all the duties mentioned in this article, and more. This can relieve you from a lot of stress and time pressure, and give you peace of mind.
Property managers can also help protect your investment and maintain a good relationship with your tenants and owners corporation (VVE).
Managing your apartment while abroad
So what are the most important things you need to do to rent out and manage your Dutch apartment while abroad? Below is a list of the duties that you - and the person managing your property - need to cover.
1. Set a rental price
When you set a rental price you need to be aware that the Dutch rental market is divided into two sectors: social housing (sociale huur) and the free sector (vrije sector).
In the social housing sector tenants are protected with a maximum rent limit and unlimited tenancy period. Meanwhile, in the free sector, landlords can set their own prices and rental period. Naturally all landlords prefer to rent in the free sector.
For a property to be listed in the free sector it must earn enough rental points to have a minimum price of 710,68 euros per month.
2. Advertise and meet potential tenants
Take photos of your property and advertise it on (online) rental platforms or through an agent. Arrange meeting times with potential tenants.
3. Create a healthy owner/tenant relationship
Select tenants who you believe are reliable and trustworthy, meet them again or request further documentation, if necessary, before making your final decision.
You need to ensure you have a good relationship with your tenants not only to protect your property from damage, but also to avoid future problems or misunderstandings such as them staying longer than agreed.
4. Draw up and sign a rental contract
Create a contract that covers you in case of any damage or disagreement. Make sure your tenants understand and agree with all rental conditions including price and duration.
5. Prepare your property for rental
After the contract is finalised, prepare the property for rental by moving out your belongings and furniture (unless you are renting the place furnished). Don’t leave any precious objects or anything with an emotional value.
Clean the property thoroughly and take photos of its condition for future reference.
6. Organise regular inspections
Once the tenant has moved in, organise for your friend or representative to inspect the property roughly every three months to ensure it stays in good condition. This also gives the tenants the opportunity to raise any maintenance issues that need attention.
7. Property maintenance
Ensure that your property is not left to deteriorate over time. Gas heaters need to be checked, plumbing leaks fixed and, after a couple of years, walls may need to be painted.
Maintenance costs money but if you budget carefully then you might be able to cover these costs with the rent, and they are also tax deductible against your rental income.
8. Have your post collected regularly
The same person who inspects your property can also pick up any mail for you, scanning or sending it on if necessary.
9. Manage payments and bills
Keep track of your bank account to make sure the rent is paid correctly and on time. Also make sure that any bills or council rates are also paid by their due date.
10. Do your taxes
You will need to declare the rent you earn as income (from your property) on your annual income tax return. On the positive side, you will be able to claim most expenses related to your property as tax deductible. Property managers can also give guidance on how to best manage your finances.
11. Stay up-to-date on rental laws
Dutch rental laws are always changing. It is therefore important that you stay aware of any changes that might affect your rental price or tax rates. This also a factor that property managers can update you on.
Preparation and support
A well-managed rental property should mean that you spend minimum time (and money) on maintaining it. With good preparation and support you won’t need to think about your property while abroad, and it will be ready and waiting when you decide to return or sell it.
Edgar Durão is the founder of Property Manager Amsterdam, offering personalised services for all aspects of the rental and management process.
If you are considering renting out your apartment contact Property Manager Amsterdam to request an initial consultation or free valuation.