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22 Feb Paying too much rent for your room? Do something about it!

Small dorm room for student housingStudent housing. Photo: Flickr

After a long search from the Bijlmer to Slotervaart, you finally found a room in Amsterdam. It may not be on the Prinsengracht, and it may not have that many windows, or great heating and you share one toilet with six others, but it’s all yours. It’s very expensive, but that’s normal in Amsterdam with it’s many slum landlords, right? Wrong!

Owners of student housing must abide by the rules the government set for the rent they can ask per month. If you think you might be paying too much for your room, you might want to consider starting a case with the Huurcommissie, which helps you take on your landlord and protects your rights. This step-by-step guide helps you lowering your rent.

  • The first thing you do is grab your measuring tape and start measuring your room.
  • Measure other rooms, like the kitchen, a living room you may share with others and the garden.
  • Go to the website of the Huurcommissie and then the page ‘Huurprijscheck’. Fill in the specifications of your room. Immediately, the website will give you the maximum price you should be paying for your room.

270 euro too much

For example: say you filled in all the specifications for a room in the Watergraafsmeer with a rent of 450 euro per month, not counting the service costs. The room has a square footage of 12 square meters. The bathroom and kitchen are shared with four others. There’s a shared garden of 20 square meters. How much would you have to pay for a room like this? According to the law only 179.20 euro! You are paying 270.80 euro too much every month. Now what can you do about this?

  • On this page of the Huurcommissie you can download a sample letter you have to send to your landlord for a request for lowering the rent. It basically says that if he doesn’t reply you will start a case with the Huurcommissie.
  • If you don’t hear anything from your landlord or you are not able to reach an agreement about the rent, you fill in an online form to request an assessment by the Huurcommissie.
  • You will have to pay 25 euro for starting the case. However, you’ll probably get this back when the Huurcommissie decides in your favour.
  • The Huurcommissie contacts you to make an appointment for them to see your room and check all the measurements.
  • There will be a short meeting at the Huurcommissie in Amsterdam, where you and your landlord can have their say. However, attending the meeting is not obligatory.
  • You’ll receive the verdict of the Huurcommissie in a letter, which states the rent you will pay from now on. Your landlord will probably have to pay you back (some of) the money you paid too much.

Congratulations on your now affordable room!

Did you know:

  • You can also consult the Huurcommissie if you think you are paying too much for electricity or services
  • If you have only been renting your room for six months or shorter when starting a case, you might get all of the rent back you overpaid.
  • Landlords are obliged to send you a yearly settlement of the service costs you paid and pay you back what wasn’t used for maintenance or energy costs.
  • According to a study in 2013 the average student room cost almost 500 euro a month with an average square footage of only 15 square meters.
  • ROOD, the youth wing linked to the SP holds an election every year for the worst slum landlord. You can nominee your landlord on the website of ROOD.

Are you overpaying for your room? Tell us about it!

WTFemma-vdw

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