In this section, we’ll go over some important distinctions in the kinds of accommodation you can find in Maastricht, including differences between the social and private housing sectors, as well as the different types of housing you can find in Maastricht.
Social and private sector housing
Before you even start searching, you should know that the housing sector in the Netherlands can be divided into two types: the government-subsidised social sector, and the non-subsidised private sector. Why is this important? Because the rules applicable to each are different, and so you as a tenant may have different rights under each sector. Here are the main things you should know:
Social housing (sociale huurwoningen)
Social housing is managed by housing associations/corporations (woningcorporaties or wooncorporaties). The three housing corporations in Maastricht are Servatius Wonen & Vastgoed, Woningstichting Maasvallei Maastricht, and Woonpunt.
Social housing is generally cheaper because it’s subsidised by the state; the aim of the housing corporations is to provide housing for those with lower incomes (including students – though check that your income isn’t too high), and so their activities are not for profit.
Social housing has a maximum rent limit (maximale huurgrens van de woning, or liberalisatiegrens); this is an amount, determined every year by the government, that the price of accommodations within the social sector cannot exceed – in other words, once you pass this amount, you are no longer in the realm of social housing. Related to this, rent price increases are more tightly controlled than in the private sector. They’re still possible, but you won’t get a nasty shock due to crazy price increases. Rental contracts in the social sector are also more regulated: as a general rule, those who rent from housing corporations have more rights than those who rent from the private sector.
Because rental prices in the social housing sector are limited to the maximale huurgrens van de woning, it is more likely that you will be eligible for huurtoeslag, or the Dutch rental subsidy. In order to be eligible, certain specific components of your rent must fall under the maximale huurgrens van de woning. The relevant rent components are:
- The basic rent
- The following specific service costs: costs for cleaning common areas; energy costs for common areas; costs for the caretaker; costs for service and recreation areas
If this is confusing, don’t worry! We have more detailed information on rental prices and rent components.
Private sector housing (non-subsidised)
The private sector is overall more free and less regulated than the social sector. Private sector accommodation is mostly offered by private companies and individuals, it tends to be more expensive, and both tenants and landlords have more freedom to agree upon the rent and services provided. There is no maximum rent, and because there is less regulation and bureaucracy involved, the process to find housing can often be easier and faster. Still, less government oversight doesn’t mean tenants don’t have any protection. We’ll go over your rights as a tenant in our rental contracts section.
Types of accommodation
How do students live in Maastricht? Do we have US-style campus dorms, and frats and sorority houses? Does everyone live in one of those tall, crooked and picturesque Dutch houses? Read on to find out!
As the name suggests, these are classic university-style dorms. You usually share the kitchen, toilet(s), shower(s) (and possibly even your room) with (an)other student(s). You’ll likely throw house parties and meet lots of people and make great friends – the quintessential student lifestyle.
The only university-affiliated housing in the city is the UM Guesthouse, which can be found on Maastricht Housing (link to websites, as well as to finding a room). However, we do university dorms a little differently here: there’s no campus, and the dorm buildings are spread out through the city. A great way to really get in touch with the local Maastricht life!
These are private houses (sometimes even the crooked Dutch ones!) that have been split up into many rooms. You usually rent out a room and share all other facilities with the rest of the people in the house – how many people you share with will depend on the size of the house and the number of facilities. Some student houses have more than one kitchen, as well as a few toilets and bathrooms. Some even have a common living or dining room. They’re usually very social places, and many students opt for them, but bear in mind that you can’t usually choose the people you live with – if you’re lucky, though, you can find student houses offering more than one room, and so you could move in with (a) friend(s).
Independent accommodation refers to properties with their own front door and private facilities (i.e. your own kitchen, bathroom and toilet). Independent accommodation tends to be more expensive than shared housing (although you can find some good deals out there), and while you benefit from having privacy and independence, it’s less social than a student house or university accommodation.
If you already know the people you would like to live with, it’s possible to find a flat with them. This is a great option, as it’s both affordable and social, but start looking early, as it can be hard to find a place that meets all your requirements. 2-4 bedroom apartments are most common, so bear this in mind when deciding how many people you’d like to live with.
In the following sections, you will find more information on obligations, basic rent, service costs and much more.