As you might have already found out, the student housing in the Netherlands is arranged differently than what you expect in most countries. There is not one big campus where all students live. Instead, it is more common to rent a single unfurnished room where you share your kitchen and bathroom with other randomly selected students. This set up makes it rather hard to find an apartment for 3 or 4 people, since rooms only become available if one student moves out. Instead, rooms are rented individually, and whilst you may end up being good friends with your housemates, it isn’t recommended to set your eyes on finding a place where you and you’re 5 friends can all live together.
To make sure International students do have a chance to arrange a furnished room before their arrival, Maastricht University has set up the UM Guesthouse where you can book a single or double room/studio/apartment for your first year. These rooms are always high in demand so they should be booked at least 3 months in advance through maastrichthousing.com.
If you can’t find anywhere at the UM Guesthouse, then SSH is right next door in the other wing of the big converted hospital. It also has furnished rooms that are mainly occupied by internationals. The building is nice, with 24 hour security guards and a front desk, a cafe at the entrance and study space. However, you would have to get used to sharing a kitchen with 20 other students. It is also a bit more expensive than you would expect for how many people are sharing the facilities- rooms with a private landlord in a smaller house can definitely be found for cheaper, but there won’t be a security person 24/7!
Maastricht Housing also is a portal where private landlords and housing corporations advertise their rooms. All these rooms are vetted by the university team so you do not worry if any of them are not legitimate. These rooms are also mostly unfurnished and spread throughout the city, ranging in price from €250 to €450 per month depending on location and size. Studios are available from €500 to €600, and apartments will cost you €600 or more.
Most students live in a big shared house, each with their own room and a shared bathroom, kitchen and possibly a living room or garden if you’re lucky. Price is of course dependent on location, size of room, but also stuff like having the luxury of a dishwasher or an actual bath in the bathroom.
Rooms from the housing corporations often have subsidies available. Look at the mymaastricht.nl website under finance for more information about this. These subsidies can sometimes be insane- we’ve heard of cases where they bring the price of a 35m modern one bedroom apartment on the Markt down to only €460 per month. Of course, this is an extreme example, but it shows how helpful subsidies can be. The only downside is that these rooms are based on how long you have been on the maastrichthousing.nl “list”. You will likely only be able to get one of these rooms with at least 2,5 or 3 years on the list, and for big studios in popular places, this rises to 4 years. A bonus for international students though! If you’re from outside the EU, you get a 2 year head start on everyone else, to make it “fair”. Apparently they felt sorry for you all having to pay €10k a year in tuition, and the jump to the front of the queue balances out that you won’t be able to apply for subsidies (limited to EU students only).
If you have any issues or concerns about your new contract you can always contact the Huurteam Zuidlimburg from the university. We really recommend doing this- they can help you with so much, and their website is full of incredibly useful information that can help you not get screwed over by a landlord.
There is a maximum fee an agency can charge you when you sign a contracts which must relate to services provided by that agency. This cannot be a month’s rent for example, but a maximum of €250 is not unheard of.
For privately owned locations you almost always sign a contract for minimum one year. If you would want to move out earlier, you usually have to pay a small fee and have to arrange a new tenant to take over your room. If you’re subrenting, make sure you draw up a proper contract (get in touch with the housing helpdesk for their suggestions) to decide upon rent, how long you’ll be subrenting for, and what happens with their furniture whilst you’re living there.
Finding a new tenant or subrenter shouldn’t be a problem- the housing market is pretty busy in Maastricht, and there are always people looking to move around. Facebook groups like Rooms/ Kamer/ Zimmer in Maastricht are one of the most popular ways for students to find a new place to live. Be quick though- it’s usually first come, first serve (unless the housemates are getting to decide), which means trying to contact the person selling within 30 seconds of them posting the message to the forum!
If you are looking for cheap furniture it is best to either visit the Kringloopwinkel which is a second hand shop, or browse to the numerous furniture Facebook pages such as Sharing is caring but money is money & Furniture for sale.