Additional housing tips

So you’re looking the contract over and all seems well, right? Great! We’re assuming that you know whether or not you’ll have to take out a subscription for internet and television. You’re also aware of the fact that you might receive yearly fees for water taxes and waste taxes.

… No? Alright, let’s start at the beginning.

What’s included in your rent?

Your rent is the monthly fee you pay in order to use the accommodation. This is specified in your contract and is subject to increase every year by a small percentage. You’ll be notified in advance when your rent increases. The fee you pay for use of the accommodation is also called “kale huur” (basic rent).

In some cases, your rent includes more than just use of the accommodation, sometimes it includes service costs. Service costs are monthly fees you pay for maintenance of the complex you live in. In some cases you’ll be required to pay for “nutsvoorzieningen” (public utilities) as well. These are costs you pay for the use of water, gas and electricity. Both your service costs and public utility costs are specified in your contract.

When renting a student apartment from a housing corporation, it often includes the costs for gas, electricity, maintenance of the complex and the use of internet and cable TV. This should also be specified in your contract. WoonInvest is one of the corporations providing this.

In some exceptional cases, your rent also includes the yearly fee for water and waste taxes that the municipality issues. The Ministry of Marine – who provide fully furnished apartments – are known to provide this service.

Your Rent Might Go Up…

…And there isn’t much you can do about it, but there are rules. To understand these rules, you may need a bit more information.

In the Netherlands we distinguish two different types of accommodation:

  1. Social Accommodations for Rent
  2. Free Sector Accommodations

Social rental accommodations are defined by their lower prices when compared to free sector accommodation. As of 2019, any form of accommodation below the price of €720,- is considered a social rental accommodation. If your accommodation qualifies as such, it also means that there is a limit to how much your rent can rise by per year.

Depending on your income, your rent can go up by a maximum of 4,1% or 5,6%. The deciding factor is whether or not you earn more than €42.436 on a yearly basis.

Free Sector accommodations are living spaces that cost more than €720,-. In that case, the price has exceeded what we call the huurliberalisatiegrens (rent liberalisation threshold). You are not eligible for rental benefits and there is no limit to how much your rent is allowed to increase.

Oh, and another minor tidbit: social rental allows you to consult with the Huurcommissie (Rent Commission) in case of conflict between tenant and landlord. Conflicts between landlord and tenants in the Free Sector might require that you seek legal help. The Juridisch Loket and the  Juridisch Jongeren Spreekuur at JIP in The Hague provide this.

You Might Be Getting Some Hefty Taxes

Picture this: it’s January and all seems to be going well. All of a sudden you find an envelope on your doormat (or a notification in your e-mail) from the municipality where you are registered. You open it, only to find out that you can’t read it since it’s in Dutch and it involves a sum of money that you assume you have to pay.

There’s another envelope, sent by the Regionale Belasting Group. They too seem to demand money from you.

We understand why this is both scary and frustrating. Allow us to explain:

As a resident of whatever municipality you’re registered in, you are obligated to pay the yearly municipal waste and water board taxes. These are two separate taxes, designated for all those who use their municipality’s waste disposal and water treatment system.

At this point we figure you’re looking for more information. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Please click this link for a .pdf file, explaining both taxes and your options.

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