The rental market in the bigger cities in the Netherlands has become quite challenging. Due to demand outpacing supply, prices have gone up. Availability of affordable properties is scarce. We’ve noticed that more and more people are considering sharing an apartment. With two or three times your rental budget you can rent a very nice property! As a result, shared living has become more popular recently.
What is shared living?
Shared living means that two or three tenants form a group and search together for a property. The ideal apartment needs to have at least two or three reasonably-sized bedrooms. The living room, kitchen and bathroom can be shared. The bedroom offers enough space to also have a private room where you can invite friends or just spend some time on your own.
In the shared living concept there are differences when it comes to the rental contract. Sometimes there is one main tenant who is responsible for the lease and rental payments and it’s up to that person to coordinate with the other tenant(s). Sometimes the tenants share the responsibility. How your contract is set up depends on the rules in your city and the owner’s preference.
How do I find co-tenants?
Many people who share a house live with colleagues or friends. If that is not an option for you there are various websites where you can find other people in the same situation.
What are the risks of shared living?
It’s important that you spend some time getting to know each other, as sharing means you need to be able to trust each other. You will hear and see each other when you are all home so it is critical that you can at least relate to each other. It’s easy to get annoyed about little things when you live together so it’s important you find people who have more or less the same lifestyle and with whom you can agree on things that are important to you.
The rules for shared living differ per municipality. If you share an apartment with more individuals than legally allowed in your community or if the property doesn’t comply with the local rules, you might even be evicted.
If one of the co-tenants leaves, you will have to find a new person. In the meantime the rent will still be due, which may present a challenge!
Sometimes tenants don’t have the same approach towards taking care of rented property. You need to have a rental agreement in which the responsibilities for all tenants are clear. If one damages the property he/she will have to pay for it. If there is no one who admits responsibility, you will all have to share the cost.
Then there’s the gas/electricity bills. You can make a calculation of individual usage by the m2 that you personally have plus your share of the common space. But some people like to turn up the heat, enjoy long showers or forget to switch off the heating when they leave. In theory they should have to pay a higher portion of the utility bills but it’s hard to prove actual individual usage. Again, it is important that you make agreements with each other and that you can trust each other to stick to them.
You can also find a room on websites like http://www.kamernet.nl/en. Many students and young professionals, both from within the Netherlands and abroad find a room through them. Homeowners list their available apartments on the website. After you register you will have direct access to them.
Renting a place together with colleagues, friends or people that you find online may be a very interesting possibility for you. The biggest advantage is that you will be able to rent a nicer property even if your budget is relatively low.
You will have to agree on arrangements about your mutual responsibilities.
It is important to commit to specific agreements about e.g. noise, cleaning, utility bills, visiting friends, etc.