Irregular Expenses

Introduction

Other than your rent and your utilities, there are some other expenses which will crop up from time to time. You should make sure that you budget for these, and in some cases you may have to speak to your flatmates if you want to divide the costs. Our page on finances has everything you need to get yourself financially organized in Maastricht, however, this section below offers information on housing related expenses.

Furniture

Your room is not yours without the furniture to make it special. A lot of the student accommodation comes unfurnished, so you will be required to furnish it yourself. Often, you can pick up cheap second hand furniture through Maastricht based facebook pages such as Furniture for sale! Maastricht or Bikes and Furniture in Maastricht. Although this is usually the cheapest option, you may have to arrange delivery yourself (see section below). You can also take a look at marketstuff.nl, a website where people can sell old furniture and other items.

Another cheap option for students is to check out a second hand store (krinkloopwinkel). There are a number of Kringloopwinkels located in and around Maastricht. Kringloop Zuid is a very large of second hand store with a wide range of furniture and other household items on offer. You can also check out Vind-iets Kringloop and Twiede Hands Twiedekans. Usually these stores will also offer a delivery service for an extra fee. They will also collect your old furniture for free if it is of a good enough standard.

If you prefer new furniture rather than second hand, there is an Ikea located in Heerlen which is only a short train ride from Maastricht. Other commercial options within Maastricht include Jules & You, Kwantum and large department stores located on Maastricht’s main shopping street such as  Bijenkorf. Most of these stores will also offer a delivery service.

Moving & transport

Most stores will also offer a furniture delivery service for an extra charge. Always double check with them before you pay. If you need to transport the furniture yourself, you have a number of options. Firstly, it is always worth posting on sharing is caring to see if anyone is free to help you move. You will often be surprised at the friendly and communal atmosphere that you can find in Maastricht. Gofurnit, Jules & You and chauffeurdidi are all examples of local companies which can help you with moving and delivering furniture. Another option is simply to rent a van for a day. Renting a van comes with specific laws and regulations. You should speak to individual car companies about their own policies. Check out our section to find car/van rental companies in Maastricht.

Recycling Junk & big waste

Every house should have a waste pass (afvalpas). This pass allows you to make use of any of the 4 rubbish tips (milieuparken) around Maastricht, where you can dispose of things you no longer want. If your house does not have a waste pass, or it is lost or missing, you can apply for a new one.  First of all, find out which person in your house pays for the waste collection tax (afvalstoffenheffing). This is the person who should apply for the afvalpas. They can do this online by logging in using their DigiD and following the instructions. If you are unsure who pays for the waste collection tax in your house, you can find out by calling the BsGW in Roermond on 088 – 8420420. They will tell you who should apply for the afvalpas. If you change address, leave the afvalpas behind for the new residents to use. Your new address should have its own pass.

Costs of waste disposal vary depending on what it is and how much you are trying to get rid of. However, unless you are trying to get rid of large, bulky amounts of household waste you should not have to pay too much. For a full overview of the costs of disposal, download a waste-disposal calendar, which lists the prices of disposal at the bottom (only in Dutch).

Insurances

Liability Insurance (WA-verzekering) may come in handy if you accidentally damage someone else’s property. Some landlords might even require you to take out liability insurance before even considering you a prospective tenant. You can get liability insurance through your Dutch bank or it can be bought at some department stores such as HEMA for a reasonably low fee. 

Another insurance you might want to consider taking out is contents insurance (Inboedelverzekering). Contents insurance pays for damage done to, or the loss of, your personal possessions while they are in your home. Generally it’ll cover things like theft, and water or fire damage. You should look into your bank or department stores such as HEMA if you’re interested in taking out contents insurance or use a comparison site like indpender.nl to compare the different options available.

Agency fees

Many apartments that are rented out to expats or students are found via agencies. A lot of tenants paid a fee to an agent. According Dutch law in most cases this is not permitted.

The highest civil court in the country decided that if a house is advertised by an agency there is the assumption that the agency is working for the landlord. Because there is a conflict of interest, between the landlord and the tenant, the agency can not represent both parties and it is not allowed to ask for an agency fee. If you already paid you can claim a refund.

Since the 1st of July 2016 it is also not allowed to ask for an agency fee for rooms and therefore you can also claim back the agency fee if you paid for a room.

Sometimes agencies refer to an agency fee as contract costs, administration costs, administration fees, etc. This is also not allowed and you can claim back these costs.

This means that if you rented the apartment through an agency, you can start a process against the agency if they are working for the landlord and advertised the apartment or room. First, write a letter to the agency. This letter needs to include the following information:

  • The agency was working for the landlord and therefore you were not obliged to pay an agency fee.
  • You want a refund within two weeks of the date on your letter.
  • If the agency does not comply you can start legal procedures, taking the matter to court.

You can get more advice on tackling agency issues here, or you can get in touch with the Juridisch Locket for legal counseling.

Annual bills

If you hold your utility contracts yourself, at the end of the year WML will send you an invoice detailing your usage and the actual price of the water used. They will then either reimburse you if you paid too much or ask you to pay the difference if you used more than the amount payed for by your regular payments. The same type of invoice will be sent by your provider of gas & electricity. This bill is normally sent to the person who has been residing in the building in the house the longest, but should be divided between all residents. Depending on the bill, you will either need to pay the difference or the difference will be paid out to you if you used less than anticipated.

If you signed a contract that includes Service Costs, your landlord is obliged to provide a similar annual nota and calculation before the 30th of June of the next year. This invoice is called “eindafrekening” and should include an itemized list of the actual costs and the advance payments made by the tenant. Every item, like electricity, gas, furnishing, cleaning etc. must be clearly listed. Costs and payments are then balanced. Sometimes the tenant will need to pay extra but sometimes they will get money back. If the landlord and the tenant disagree about the amounts, they can present their case to the rental tribunal (Huurcommissie) or the district court (kantonrechter) at any time and the payments may be lowered if necessary.

Besides the final settlements for your utilities, every household gets billed with the municipal tax once a year. This bill comes in form of a letter from the BsGW and tends to be shockingly high (somewhere around 400€). In this part of our finances section you can find out how to apply for a tax cut and get out of this bill!

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