Thinking of renting a house or apartment in Rotterdam? Going for longterm or short stay? Furnished or unfurnished? We explain how renting a home in Rotterdam works, where to look and what the requirements are.
How much does renting cost in Rotterdam?Before we dive into how renting a home in Rotterdam actually works. Let's have a look at the current situation. In virtually all districts of Rotterdam, the average rent has been increasing. In the first half of 2019, new tenants paid an average of € 16.29 per square metre per month for a free-sector rental property in Rotterdam. This is almost one euro more than in the previous year. The city centre is far ahead of the other neighbourhoods in terms of price, costing €18.93 per square meter. Although Rotterdam Centre and Rotterdam North are the most expensive, the largest price increases were measured in Delfshaven and Charlois. New tenants paid here respectively € 15.52 (+12%) and € 13.36 (+10%) per square meter per month.
What about renting in Schiedam, Capelle aan den IJssel and Vlaardingen?
Schiedam is in terms of rent an interesting alternative to Rotterdam, the square meter price is also almost three euros below the Rotterdam average: new tenants paid € 13.38 per square meter per month. Compared to a year earlier, however, this is almost two euros more, an increase of 16.4 per cent. An increase of about three to five per cent is average, an increase of 16 per cent is exceptional!
The neighbouring cities of Capelle aan den IJssel and Vlaardingen also offer a more affordable alternative. In Capelle aan den IJssel, the average square meter price is more than three and a half euros below the average for Rotterdam: new tenants have paid € 12.79 per square meter per month in the past six months. In Vlaardingen, the square metre price is slightly higher, but still well below the Rotterdam average: € 13.31. (all data courtesy of Pararius)
How renting in Rotterdam worksSigning 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.
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 RotterdamAs 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.
What you need to be eligible to rent a home in RotterdamTo 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 RotterdamDepending 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 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 RotterdamReady 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.
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.
p.s. Is the information in this article incorrect or outdated? Please let us know.