Housing scams and red flags

Some things should never appear in a rental contract – if you see these, you shouldn’t sign (or you should at least tread very carefully). Here are a few:

  • The contract only contains the landlord’s first and last names, and there is no address or contact details. This is especially iffy if there is no agency to mediate the rental agreement.
  • The landlord’s bank details are missing, or are from a foreign (non-Dutch bank).
  • The costs aren’t clearly specified. For example, the basic rent and service charges should be clearly distinguished.
  • The contract doesn’t clearly specify when it starts or ends, or whether it’s a fixed-period or indefinite tenancy agreement.
  • There is no provision detailing how your deposit will be transferred back to you, and under what terms. If the contract states that it will take anything over three months to return your deposit, beware! This is quite sketchy. Overall, you should make sure that you can clearly see what will happen to your deposit.
  • Lastly, if the contract requires you to transfer any (large) amounts of money on grounds that seem suspicious to you, be very careful. It’s possible that this may be totally fine, but be wary and make sure you know where your money is going.
  • Be reasonable about rental prices. If you can, familiarise yourself with the housing market a little bit, before settling on an accommodation. This will help you identify if you are overpaying for your accommodation.
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