Expat home hunters hit by scams, complicated rules and income requirements

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

Despite claims that expats with unlimited budgets are driving up rents and house prices, many earn so little they would qualify for social housing it if was available, according to the results of a new survey by the International Community Advisory Platform.

While 43% of the 1,668 survey respondents said they had gross household income of more than €5,000 a month, 25% had an income of less than €3,000 a month – which means they are entitled to live in a rent-controlled property.

The survey also found that 53% of international workers were paying more than €1,200 a month in rent, but just 30% said they could actually afford to pay so much. Nine in 10 international workers get no help from their employer paying for their accommodation

Over seven in 10 said it was hard to find a permanent place to live because of the lack of choice in their price category. One in four said they did not earn enough to meet landlord’s income requirements and almost a quarter said they did not understand the Netherlands’ complicated housing rules.

‘The results show that a sizeable proportion of the Netherlands’ expats do not earn high salaries and are struggling, like many Dutch people, to find an affordable place to live,’ said ICAP board member Deborah Valentine. ‘The popular image of the wealthy expat who will willingly pay thousands of euros for a small flat does not match the reality in many cases.’

Scams and untrustworthy landlords were another problem, with 15% reporting they had been told that they could not register at the home they wanted to rent, indicating the lease was not above board.

‘Stay away from public listings like Facebook groups and smaller websites without any moderation whatsoever. Those places are infested with scammers,’ one respondent in The Hague said.

In total, 55% of the respondents said were looking to buy a home, with 49% saying it would be cheaper than renting. Almost 1,700 people with 110 different nationalities took part in the survey.

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