Be aware: not all ads can be trusted, recognize a rental scam
So, you think you’ve found suitable rental accommodation. That’s great! But before agreeing to anything, follow the advice below to make sure you don’t fall victim to a rental scam.
- Make sure the accommodation is being rented out via an official website or company.
- Check out the address in Google maps, to make sure it really exists.
- Scammers often use stolen identities. Search for their photo online. Make an appointment to meet in person or through Skype. Make sure the landlord is actually the person he/she claims to be.
- Never send a copy of your passport or credit/debit card to strangers.
- As housing is scarce, you might receive unwanted e-mails from scammers trying to rent out (non-existing) accommodation. Be aware of unsolicited e-mails.
- Never sign a housing contract without having first read it carefully. Be sure you fully understand and agree with what you are signing. Get someone to translate it for you if necessary.
Possible signs of a rental scam
- You have to pay rent (or other costs) in advance, without having seen the apartment or having met the landlord/agency staff.
- You have to transfer money to a non-Dutch bank account.
- The rental price is much lower than other apartments in the same area/location.
- The pictures sent do not resemble the location in any way.
- The landlord/agency is too eager or pushy to rent the apartment to you.
- You have a bad feeling about the landlord/agency or how things are proceeding.
What if you have been scammed?
If you have been scammed, don’t lose hope of finding another apartment. Always contact the police to let them know what has happened. They might be able to find the scammer and prevent others being caught out.
Use a Dutch phone to call the followling numbers. Emergency: 112 | No emergency: 0900 - 88 44.
What to keep in mind before signing a rental agreement?
- Check accuracy of all information: name renter, rentee, correct address, correct agreed rental price, start date, etc;
- What is or is not included in the rental price? F.e. gas, electricity and water, service fees, city taxes, etc. Note: letters and bills regarding these affairs will be in Dutch – you can contact Youth Information Point for guidance;
- Is the room furnished? If so, additional take-over cost might be part of the arrangement, unless this is included in the rental fee. If this is the case, make sure to have this documented in the rental contract;
- When and how is payment due?
- Is the rent for a defined or undefined rental period?
- What is the rental notice period?
- Check for smoke detectors, CO2-detectors and fire escape routes;
- Register the state of the room or apartment in a separate document, including pictures;
- In what way has the lessor/landlord assured the rented property? What potential insurance does the renter have to take?
- Be aware of the fact that some commercial property owners might be charging a one-off service fee.
Click here for an example of a rent agreement.
Rental advice in The Hague
The Municipality of The Hague has set-up a Rental Helpdesk to provide tenants in the private rental sector with free information and advice. They can be your first point of contact for matters such as contracts, permits, and issues between tenant and landlord. Read more, make an appointment and learn more about the Rental helpdesk locations in The Hague.
Where to go in case of a dispute with your landlord?
When you find yourself in a conflict with your landlord or when you experience issues with your neighbours that you cannot resolve amicably?
- Call in the services of the Fair Rent Team if you think you are paying too much rent or if you're having problems with the landlord concerning the service charges or maintenance of your rental property.
- Do you rent form DUWO and do you have a request for a repair or a complaint? Reach out: DUWO.
- Contact The Hague Housing Inspection Bureau of the municipality to report domestic nuisance and overdue maintenance. Their mission: to improve the quality of life and safety in The Hague’s neighbourhoods.
- The Juridisch Loket is your first stop for (free) legal aid from the central government (Dutch website, English assistance).