Regular Expenses

Introduction

In this Regular Expenses section we provide you with all kinds of information regarding regular housing expenses. This includes monthly bills such as rent, utilities or service costs, as well as other expenses like trash disposal or doing laundry.

Your accommodation will also require utilities like water, electricity and gas; as well as other expenditures like an internet service. Often, utilities are included in the price of the rent, with landlords being responsible for the provision of basic services. For those paying an exclusive rental price, it is common for gas, water and electricity to already be connected, simply requiring the new tenant to contact the supplier and transfer their details. The most important thing is to check which utilities are included in the price and which utilities you must pay yourself before you begin to rent your room.

Once you have found the right room for you, you will eventually sign a lease contract. The lease should clearly differentiate between the basic rent (kale huur) and the service costs (service kosten). If this differentiation is not clear and one unspecified sum is mentioned, the lease is considered an “all in” contract. These contracts are not legal and the rent can therefore be significantly lowered.

Below you can find more information about the basic rent and service costs.

Basic Rent

The landlord cannot simply charge what he likes for an apartment or room. Every apartment or room has a maximum rent, which is calculated using the Dutch national point system (woningwaarderingsstelsel). There is a system for rooms (shared kitchen and/or bathroom) and a system for apartments.

The number of points for rooms are determined by the size and facilities of the accommodation. For apartments, the quality and location are also relevant. If you pay more than the maximum rent according to this points system, you are entitled to have your rent reduced by the Rental Tribunal (Huurcommissie). This is like a civil court that deals solely with housing rental cases. It is very easy to start a re-evaluation process and the costs for a process are only €25 (in 2017). If you think you are being overcharged for your rent, it is best to visit the Housing Helpdesk that will help calculate the points for your accommodation (the system is relatively complex and only provided in Dutch).

However, if your apartment/room has more than 141 points, or you have been paying €710,68 (Basic rent) or more for you rent and have done so for 6 months or more, you cannot reduce your rent. It is best to start a process within 6 months after your rental contract started. When the case is submitted to the rental tribunal within this timeframe the decision will have retroactive effect.

Another consideration should be the rent subsidy provided by the Dutch government to students living in certain conditions, the so called “huurtoeslag”. You can find all necessary info on that in this part of our finances section.

Service Costs

On top of the basic rent, many tenants pay additional costs that are not covered by the basic rent. Such costs, often indicated as ‘service costs’, can include furniture, utilities like gas, water, electricity or other services. These costs are also strictly regulated in the Netherlands, even if the apartment belongs to the ‘liberalised sector’. Many tenants are not aware of this and therefore get overcharged for these items.

Service costs for items such as utilities (gas, water and electricity), furnishings, cleaning costs and administrative costs are legally considered as advance payments. This means that, at the end of each calendar-year, these advance payments should be balanced with the actual costs (and provided to the tenant). For instance, tenants can only be charged annually a maximum of 20 percent of the purchase price of furniture. Furthermore, tenants only need to pay this amount for goods which are not older than five years.  For goods older than five years, the maximum charge is 20 percent of their second-hand value.

For example: 2 students share a washing machine. The new price is € 600,00. The service costs for the washing machine is calculated per month, per person: €600 / 60 months / 2 persons: €5,00 per month.

At the end of each year the landlord must provide an annual final calculation for the service costs. You’ll find all you need to know here.

Water, Electricity & Gas

WML (Waterleiding Maatschappij Limburg) is the water provider of Maastricht. Most households choose to pay a fixed amount every three months based on how many people live in the house and their expected water usage. Although it is possible to buy electricity and gas services separate from one another, most providers in the Netherlands will offer discounts if you choose the same provider for both. The infrastructure provider for both electricity and gas is Enexis, but you are free to choose the actual supplier yourself. You can compare suppliers to find the one that most suits your needs.

Once you have found a supplier they will bill you an estimate of the monthly costs based on the size of your household. Once a year you will be sent an annual invoice detailing your consumption of utilities. You will receive such an invoice from WML and from your utilities provider. Find all necessary information here.

Rubbish

In Maastricht, you need to buy special trash bags for your household garbage. You can buy the red and white bin bags in most supermarkets; just ask at the cash desk or go to the tobacco desk by the shop’s entrance. In the center of town bin bags are picked up weekly, while they are picked up every two weeks further out of town. The bags are picked up after 6A.M. and you’re allowed to put the bags out after 7P.M. the night before. The municipality website tells you when the bags are picked up in your street.

Most households in Maastricht will also have a green organic waste bucket that is emptied regularly by the municipality. Click here to find out more about the organic waste bucket.

If you have larger trash & waste to remove or recycle, you have these options.

Recycling

As you must pay for the red and white bin bags that are picked up by the municipality on a regular basis, separating your waste is not only good for the environment but it also saves you money. Maastricht has loads of recycling stations spread out all over town. You can find them near many shops or sports facilities and they let you recycle paper/cardboard, clear and coloured glass, plastic packaging, and tins and drink cartons. Use our map to find out where the closest recycling station is near you.

Internet

When choosing an Internet provider the first choice you have to make is whether you want a regular cable connection or if you want a fiberglass connection. Fiberglass Internet is a lot faster, but costs more (>€50 per month) and isn’t available everywhere yet. Regular cable Internet is available almost everywhere and shouldn’t cost you more than €25 per month for a decent connection speed. Usually setting up your Internet connection will take about three weeks. Use this site to  find a comparison between the different Internet providers and packages (should you want to combine TV, phone and Internet).

laundry

If you are lucky then your residence will be equipped with a washing machine and drying facility, however it is very possible that you will need to organise these services yourself. You have three choices here, either: purchase a washing machine, rent one, or take your washing to the nearest laundrette (wasserette).

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