How to rent a home in Rotterdam - room, apartment, house

How to rent a home in Rotterdam - room, apartment, house

Thinking of renting a house or apartment in Rotterdam? Whether you're aiming for a long-term stay or a short visit, choosing between furnished or unfurnished options, understanding the rental market in Rotterdam is crucial. Here’s an updated guide to help you navigate through the process.

How much does renting cost in Rotterdam?

As we look into the rental landscape of Q4 2023, we find significant changes in the free sector housing market. In Rotterdam, the average rental price has seen a notable uptick. New tenants are now paying €19.18 per square meter per month, marking a 9.6% increase compared to the previous year. This rise in prices is part of a broader trend, reflecting a dwindling supply of rental properties amidst high demand, complicating the search for affordable housing for middle-income earners.

In particular, the centre of Rotterdam has witnessed a substantial price increase, with new tenants paying €21.74 per square meter, a 9.5% jump from the year before. Neighbourhoods like Feijenoord have seen the highest percentage increase in the city, with rental prices reaching €18.59 per square meter, up by 14.5%. Meanwhile, areas such as Charlois, Prins-Alexander, and IJsselmonde offer more affordable rates but have also experienced increases to varying degrees.

Average home rental prices in Rotterdam, per neighbourhoodAverage home rental prices in Rotterdam, per neighbourhood

How renting in Rotterdam works

Signing up at a real estate agent, a 'makelaar' in Dutch, is the most common way to find an apartment in Rotterdam. The largest and most popular real estate agency websites are Funda and Pararius. Both sites offer a wide range of rental properties, though Pararius does a better job of catering to the needs of expats. For starters, the Pararius website is available in English. Moreover, they also allow you to narrow down your search to include short stay, developments and rental properties.

If your move to Rotterdam is permanent, an interesting (yet difficult option) is WoonnetRijnmond. This platform is particularly helpful for finding affordable social as well as private (free sector) housing both in and around the Rotterdam region. This includes neighbouring municipalities like Barendrecht, Berkel en Rodenrijs, Bergschenhoek and Schiedam among others. There are approximately 24 housing corporations that actively promote their inventory on this website. However, the problem with WoonnetRijnmond is that the waiting lists tend to be extremely long. If you think you might stay in Rotterdam for a long time, it doesn't hurt to register. The longer you're registered, the better your odds. So think of it as a longterm plan to secure your second or third apartment.

On the other hand, WoonnetRijnmond also offers housing inventory for which only people who meet the requirements of the 'Rotterdamwet' may apply. The Rotterdamwet is a law that gives preference to certain target groups. For example, Rotterdam-based students, civil servants and industrial labourers (who work in Schiedam) who are under the age of 30. 

How to rent a home in Rotterdam - room, apartment, houseHow to rent a home in Rotterdam - room, apartment, house

About short-stay.
If you're only in Rotterdam for work, renting a short-stay apartment is very efficient as they come fully furnished and charge you per day instead of per month.

With some real estate agencies, you can sign up with them for free. They'll send you notifications of possible apartments and homes that fit your criteria. Other agencies may charge a small fee for the same service.

When you finally find your home most agencies ask for a deposit (borg) and a month's rent, when you move out, you will receive the deposit back, unless there is damage to the home that you did not fix yourself. Be sure the costs are within your calculations. In most cases, you are paying one month's rent, a deposit and a fee towards the agency. 

Furnished or not?

Dutch apartments are usually not furnished. If you need furniture, make sure you specify this in your search. Many websites have search filters that allow you to specify the state of the apartments. Some apartments are bare (kaal). That means they do not have carpets, wooden floors, etc. Dutch people tend to take their belongings along with them to their next apartment. Take into consideration that you might need furniture and other appliances for your new home!

Beware of slumlords in Rotterdam

As with anything in life, be careful and do your due diligence when dealing directly with real estate agents that offer deals that sound either too good to be true or too expensive. Scammers are particularly fond of expats. There's even a Dutch term for landlords that charge excessively high prices: huisjesmelker. That's huis (home) + melker (milker). Instead of milking cows, these 'slum landlords' milk houses, charging high amounts for meagre accommodations and sometimes even illegally splitting a house into various rooms, so they can charge everybody a high price. Erasmus Magazine wrote a great article on the subject: How to avoid being scammed.

Beware of slum landlords / huisjesmelkersBeware of slum landlords / huisjesmelkers

What you need to be eligible to rent a home in Rotterdam

To be eligible for housing in Rotterdam, you'll need a copy of your national identity card or passport. Furthermore, when you are planning on renting a full apartment or house, you will need proof of (self)employment. If you are only renting a room, you probably won't need this. However, having it on hand is useful, as it shows you're likely to be a reliable tenant. 

To make payments for your apartment or house it is handy to have an international banking account. If you live within the European Union this is very easy. If you are outside the European Union, you can always check with your bank if there are ways to make this type of transfer quicker and easier.

Rental allowance in Rotterdam

Depending on how much you earn and how much your rent is, you might be eligible for 'huurtoeslag.' This is a monthly payment you will receive from the Dutch tax authorities and is meant to lessen the burden of rent on your income.

You'll only receive the rental allowance if you are over the age of 18 and are registered at (and renting) an independent accommodation; a room in a house doesn't count. If you're not from an EU country nor Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland,  a valid residence or work permit is required.

To see if you are eligible for rental allowance in the Netherlands, be sure to read the conditions on the tax authorities' website.

Getting that home in RotterdamGetting that home in Rotterdam

Getting that apartment in Rotterdam!

Rotterdam has a lot of apartment buildings. If you find a building you like while searching the various home rental platforms, check if you can sign up for notifications. This way, you'd be among the first to know when an apartment becomes available.

When an apartment does become available, let the landlord or agency know as soon as possible. The housing market is a very fast business, places can go very fast. If you email them it might be too late. Therefore, it is best to call the landlord or real estate agency by telephone right away. They will quickly arrange a viewing for you (and others). Sometimes, you might need to make a decision on the spot, so make sure you have all your papers and finances in order if you're really serious about getting that apartment. 

After a smooth handover of the documents and paying the required deposit, they'll set a date for you to move in. After this the keys are yours!

How to find a room, apartment or house in Rotterdam

Ready to search for your new rental home in Rotterdam? Be sure you check the following websites!

Rental platforms for easy searching
In summary, Funda is a good site for finding homes for a certain price, as is Pararius. The latter will ask for a small registration fee if you want to receive notifications, but this will help you find quality housing that is often better than what other sites offer. Also, the Pararius website is available in English and differentiates between longterm apartments and short-stay apartments whereas Funda does not. Other solid and expat-friendly options include Interhouse, HousingAnywhere, which has an Airbnb vibe and Rotterdam Apartments, which also has short stay apartments on offer.
A relative newcomer to the scene is rentslam. The website offers a tool that scans more than 400 sites every 10 minutes, so you're never too late when responding. Their system allows you to find a rental house, flat or studio in Rotterdam without commission or brokerage fees.
WoonnetRijnmond is a good choice for social and private sector housing in and around the Rotterdam Rijnmond region and allows you to search for housing within the 'Rotterdamwet', but the waiting list tends to be impossibly long. A local agency with a wide inventory is Maashave (the website is in Dutch).

Student housing in Rotterdam
But wait, there's more!  One platform which is popular with students is Kamernet. The rooms and apartments on Kamernet are usually under 50m2 in size.  If you're under 34 and studying or starting out careerwise, check out Stadswonen Rotterdam. Last but not least, check out XIOR. It's a student housing complex on the Erasmus University campus. Each of the aforementioned websites is available in English.

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