Tenants in free sector pay more than homeowners

Tenants renting in the free housing sector encounter higher living costs than even owner-occupiers, the Netherlands Housing Research survey has revealed.

Free sector

There are more than 335.000 households renting in the free sector, in properties with a monthly rent above the liberalisation limit of 664,66 euros a month. The average gross housing costs (that is, rent after deduction of rental allowance) is 850 euros a month, some 80 euros higher than owner-occupied dwellings, despite the fact that the properties owned by the latter are more expensive.

However, the ratio of owner-occupied homes and tenant-occupied homes has stagnated for the first time since 1986, with 59 percent of the 7,1 million households in the Netherlands being occupied by the owner. However, with an agreement to reform the housing sector reached just last month, there is hope that the drive towards home-ownership will be rejuvenated.

Social housing

The total number of tenants living in rent-controlled housing stands at 2,6 million, despite the fact that thousands of houses have recently found themselves within the free sector thanks to new rules introduced towards the end of last year. However, the survey itself was only conducted between September of 2011 and May of 2012, suggesting that this figure may be higher than in reality.

Eighty-two percent of these rental-controlled houses are owned by housing corporations and the remainder are privately owned. Tenants in privately owned houses within the social sector pay an average of 30 euros less than their counterparts who rent from a housing corporation, despite the fact that the privately owned houses are generally more valuable.


The survey, conducted in joint co-operation between the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Statistics Netherlands, will be presented in full on April 11 this year.

Mark McDaid


Mark McDaid

Mark hails from the Emerald Isle but has been living in the land of cheese and deep-fried-indiscriminate-meat since February 2009. He can often be found trying to read through a...

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