Navigating the law in a foreign country can be quite confusing and stressful. Though when running into subjects that concerns the law or rules you don’t want to make any mistakes. It is advised to get some legal guidance. There are several free or inexpensive services, providing answers to difficult legal questions and support in your time of need:
- Walk-in Consultation Hours (Inloopspreekuuradvocaat)
“This network enables you to see whether you have a legal problem and if you wish you can consult a lawfirm in your neighbourhood. The initial advice is always free of charge! What happens if your legal issue actually becomes a case?”
- Legal Advice (Juridischloket)
Juridischloket is by far the best-known service for free legal advice in the Netherlands. “The service is very comprehensive and covers work, housing, criminal and civil law, consumer rights, financial guidance, residency and immigration, social benefits, and accident and injury. They also offer a database of template legal letters in Dutch so that you can start the process yourself.” Unfortunately their website provides their information in Dutch only. It is advised to ask a Dutch friend/buddy to help you with translating the information”
For any legal issue, you are also most welcome to contact the Legal, Policy & Partnership division of the foundation.
Scams regarding accommodation bookings
Be careful with Facebook - While it is probably the most uncomplicated way to find a room when you're already in Netherlands, there are also a few scam artists out there. So don’t transfer money up-front, especially not to non-Dutch bank accounts, and make sure you can actually view rooms before agreeing to or paying anything. If you can’t visit the city you are going to stay in before moving, go through the official housing agencies of universities or a recognised agency.
Stay AlertThere has been increasing reports of active scammers. Be vigilant and reach out through official channels if you think you are being targeted by scammers.
Tips to avoid being scammed:
- Agency fees are basically illegal in the Netherlands - The exception is when you task an agency with finding accommodation for you. In all other cases, agencies will be paid by the landlord and they're only allowed to legally represent one party. So be wary of service packages, administration fees, contract costs, etc.
- Make pictures of your room when moving in - Ideally you would – together with the landlord – prepare an inspection report, where you catalogue everything that's wrong with the flat, so as to accurately determine for what damage you can be held liable when moving out. Failing that, just take some pictures.
- Have your rental price checked within 6 months - How high the rent is obviously depends on a lot of factors, but there's a legal upper limit to what a landlord can charge, which can be calculated according to the woningwaarderingsstelsel ( - yes, Dutch is a fun language…). Expect to pay €300-€400 for a room, €500 for a studio, or €750 for an apartment. For calculating the maximum rent, you can get in touch with housing advisory services at your university or the Gemeente/ Municipal Corporation.
- It’s quite difficult to kick you out of your flat/accommodation - If you want to terminate your rental contract, you need to send your landlord a registered letter and give them a month’s notice. For the landlord it's more difficult: they need to give you at least three months’ notice and give a valid reason.
Liability - If you're renting a house together with other people, make sure you all have separate rental contracts; if you're the main tenant and let the rooms informally, you alone are liable.
Watch out for the following:
Fraudulent and Fake Calls in the name of Embassy and Dutch Ministries asking for money:
Notice by Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND): IND Telephone Scams
Notice by Indian Embassy in the Netherlands: Embassy of India
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