Housing & rental scams in the Netherlands: ultimate red flag guide

Discovering housing within the Netherlands will be ridiculously exhausting — and there’s a minefield of scams to dodge alongside the way in which.

Even if you happen to suppose you’re too good to fall for a housing scammer, the Netherlands housing disaster is the right storm of stress, competitors, and shortage. This implies even essentially the most seasoned house-hunters can fall for a rental rip-off. 

Nonetheless, armed with a little bit of key information you may spot a con and save your money from being swindled. Right here’s what to look out for to keep away from housing and rental scams within the Netherlands!

If it’s too good to be true, it in all probability is

You’ll have heard that the Netherlands has a significant housing disaster — yeah, it sucks. This has bumped up competitors for everybody trying to find a home, and in response, landlords have bumped up their costs too. 

When you’re looking in a significant metropolis within the Randstad (Amsterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht, or Rotterdam) and have discovered the right deal, proceed with excessive warning. When you suppose you’ve hit the jackpot with a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium for €750 monthly — we hate to interrupt it to you, however that’s a Dutch housing rip-off. 

Scrutinize the owner’s social media

When you’re looking on Fb for a room or condominium, you could have an important benefit — Fb profiles. Some scammers are intelligent to cover most of their private particulars, however typically they’ll overlook to cover sure issues. For instance, if they’ve a Dutch title, however you see they’ve favored pages with names in unusual, typically African, languages, that’s a purple flag. 

When you’re utilizing Fb Market, all the time click on the “See Vendor’s Different Listings” button. Scammers typically publish on a number of teams everywhere in the Netherlands, or throughout Europe, and can typically use the identical photos or related descriptions in all their advertisements. It’s a simple approach to see in the event that they’re dishonest!

It’s also possible to search the vendor on Fb to see in the event that they’re posting advertisements in home looking teams in a number of areas. 

If an advertiser has the identical property listed elsewhere, that’s a rip-off. Picture: DutchReview

Go full detective on the photographs of the home

Photos of a home imply nothing. These are sometimes lifted from Airbnb or different rental web sites and shared between home scammers within the Netherlands and different international locations. First, do a reverse picture search on the pictures and see if they seem elsewhere on the net. 

Subsequent, take a detailed have a look at the pictures. Take into account: 

  • Does the view exterior the window look Dutch? (Mountains are a useless giveaway that it’s not the Netherlands)
  • Are the powerpoints the Dutch/EU normal? (One circle with two round holes)
  • Is the condominium unreasonably spacious? Keep in mind, properties within the Netherlands are typically small.
  • Does something within the picture look not Dutch? E.g. purchasing baggage or containers with overseas letters on them, meals manufacturers, or footwear not worn within the Netherlands (like plastic, indoor slippers). 
  • All water within the Netherlands is drinkable, so if you happen to see an enormous bottle of filtered water, the picture in all probability wasn’t taken within the Netherlands.
TIP: Reverse picture search simply in Google Chrome by right-clicking on a picture and choose “Search Google for Picture”

Know what a scammer’s message appears like

We’ve seen so many scammers’ messages at this level that we are able to pick the patterns. First, scammers present means an excessive amount of data up entrance, and it’s all designed to make you suppose “that is the right home!” Spoiler: it ‘ain’t. As an alternative, it’s one other Dutch rental rip-off. 

Listed here are just a few key factors to look out for:

Crimson flag: you’re instantly referred to a different particular person

Scammers typically (however not all the time) work by having a number of individuals sending messages and posting advertisements on numerous job-hunting web sites or social media. Then, to speak they’ll ship you a WhatsApp quantity for the “landlord” or particular person taking good care of renting the condominium. 

That is straight-up a purple flag. Except they’ve despatched you an actual property agent contact that you would be able to confirm on-line, proceed with excessive warning. 

READ MORE | 7 issues to know when utilizing a Dutch rental company

Crimson flag: the condominium and lease are means too excellent

And surprisingly detailed. Scammers’ descriptions of the homes are inclined to have related traits, together with:

  • An extended record of all the nice home equipment and options in the home.
  • No minimal or most rental time period (you may keep so long as you want!).
  • Value is all the time inclusive of gasoline, water, electrical energy, and web.
  • Totally furnished with all the things you want.
  • Excellent location and near generic bars, eating places, and grocery shops.
  • A really particular location (generally with the total tackle, generally the suburb and postcode — Dutch individuals hardly ever describe their tackle as “Westerpark, 1013 RR,” and can as a substitute simply say “Westerpark.” Some will even embody particulars like “Artis Zoo is 8 km from the condominium.”
  • Renting out rooms individually (every room is €420 and the worth for the entire condominium is €840).
graphic-of-housing-scams-netherlands-written ads
Rip-off advertisements typically all function related traits. Picture: DutchReviewImage: DutchReview

Crimson flag: the “landlord” is in a foreign country and might’t present you the property

When you don’t catch on, the scammer will then let you know why they’ll’t present you the condominium in particular person. Be careful for: 

  • Being out of the town on a enterprise journey, visiting household, dwelling in Spain, vaccinating youngsters in Africa, researching coronavirus vaccines within the UK.
  • However, as quickly as you signal the lease and make the total deposit and first month’s cost, they’ll ship you the keys by way of registered publish/DHL.
Sellers all the time have a cause why they’ll’t present you the condominium. Picture: DutchReview

Be cautious of provided ID from the owner

The owner could ship you passport copies to show they’re who they are saying. Don’t take these at face worth: scammers will request passport copies from individuals they’re attempting to rip-off after which steal their id later — both for extra scams like this one, to open new Fb accounts, or for extra insidious id fraud. 

This leads us to…

NEVER ship your ID till you’re 100% positive

Yep — until you wish to discover additional profiles of your self on-line (or have loans taken out in your title) don’t ship copies of your ID. When you completely need to, be sure to’re fully positive you’re not working with a scammer, have met the owner, and have seen the condominium. 

Examine who formally owns the home

For €2.95 yow will discover out precisely who owns a home within the Netherlands (and ensure it matches up together with your potential landlord). Head to the Kadaster property register and click on “Nu bestellen” (Order Now).

If there isn’t a match, request a written rationalization from the particular person you’re involved with. Inform them you want written authorisation that the owner or company is appearing on the proprietor’s behalf. 

Keep away from renting an condominium that you just haven’t seen

We get it — the Dutch housing market sucks. If you realize you’re shifting right here and have been given the recommendation “begin searching for a home earlier than you arrive,” we perceive. However you need to be very cautious. 

When you can’t see an condominium your self, attempt to discover somebody who you may ask to view the condominium in your behalf: a pal, colleague, or classmate could also be keen to help. 

And keep in mind, if the owner can’t present you the condominium (as a result of they’re in a foreign country or one thing alongside these strains), that’s a giant purple flag. Keep away from, keep away from, or you could simply fall for a housing rip-off within the Netherlands. 

Resist the stress to signal instantly

Scammers will typically stress you to signal on the dotted line to safe the condominium. They could say that they’ve plenty of curiosity however that they’ll give it to you if you happen to signal (and ship cash) now. 

Beware of those pushy gross sales ways, take a deep breath, and be sure to’re satisfied you’re not working with a scammer first. 

Be good with the way you pay

Scammers need one factor: cash. Be extraordinarily cautious when working with a landlord about how you’ll make the funds. 

When paying money

Attempt to keep away from money the place doable: this leaves zero paper path. When you belief the owner however they ask for money, attempt to get them to signal a receipt and report the dialog in your telephone whilst you do it. Make certain to say key data out loud like “Right here is €1200 money to pay hire for the month of January for the condominium at 1234 Oudestraat.”

When paying by way of financial institution switch

When you’re paying in your hire by way of financial institution switch, be crucial of the account particulars. 

  • Does the account title match who you’re talking with?
  • Is it a Dutch checking account? If not, why? 
  • Is it an IBAN that you just’re paying into? 
  • Does the financial institution title look professional? Be careful for “Pay as you go Monetary Companies” or related sounding names. 

Different strategies of cost

We’re but to see a professional landlord within the Netherlands who desires cost for his or her rental property by way of cash switch companies like Western Union. Don’t do it. 

By no means, ever pay via Airbnb

A typical rip-off is that, when you’ve discovered the right condominium, the “landlord” will request that you just pay by way of Airbnb. They’ll let you know to order the condominium for one month upfront, and then you definitely’ll have the ability to prolong indefinitely. 

The owner will then ship you a hyperlink to their property on the Airbnb web site that appears fully legit. Don’t fall for it. It is going to be a pretend hyperlink to a rip-off web site that may take your cash and provide you with no condominium in return. 

A real landlord won’t ever do that. Why? Airbnb takes a median of 14-16% of each reservation from a landlord. In case your hire is €1000, why would a landlord flip round and provides €150 to Airbnb? 

Watch out for unlawful sublets

When you’re not in a position to register at an tackle, you could be coping with an unlawful sublet. This happens when somebody who’s renting an condominium desires to sub-rent it to a different particular person. 

Whilst you received’t be in bother if you happen to sub-rent an condominium if the owner finds out you could be kicked out — even if you happen to’ve paid. You’ll additionally doubtless not have the ability to register with the native municipality, which is necessary within the Netherlands. 

Know the place to ask for assist

When you’re unsure, ask individuals round you for assist. Generally a crucial eye that’s not emotionally concerned can prevent from a rip-off. 

When you’re uncertain a few rental contract, !WOON is an organisation devoted to serving to residents with housing points. It’s also possible to contact your native Juridisch Loket free of charge authorized recommendation. 

In fact, if you happen to do find yourself falling for a rip-off, take motion immediately! Contact the police and press prices. Collect as a lot proof as doable and screenshot any conversations that you just’ve had with the scammer. 

Have you ever had expertise with a rental housing rip-off within the Netherlands? Share your expertise within the feedback beneath so different individuals know what to search for!

READ MORE | 9 kooky issues about renting within the Netherlands

Function Picture: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

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