Accommodation in the Netherlands: scams you should look out for


Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you're new to or have not moved to the Netherlands just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in the Netherlands?

What are the most common scams in the Netherlands?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in the Netherlands?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,


Hi and thanks for the excellent question.

There is a chronic shortage of rental accommodation in the Netherlands and what there is, is expensive; the bottom line is if it looks to be too good to be true, then it probably is a scam.

Even among the legitimate renters, it's not uncommon for some of the contents of their website to be a work of fiction; mainly details of the property they rented out to somebody else previously, they are just trying to encourage you to contact them, so they can tell you about other stuff that may not be so ideal.

We've had reports on here where people were scammed outside the front door of the property they thought they were renting.

Bottom line is that if you cannot get in the front door to view the property, don't proceed.  Never give anybody rent (or any money) up-front until you have been inside and a contract signed.  When you view, check inside drawers and cupboards; very few properties are supplied with groceries in the fridge and clothes in bedroom drawers.

Never rent a property from outside the country; probably best to wait until you get there; use something like a hotel or AirBnB to cover your first couple of weeks.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

Their are a lot of questionable renters in the big cities, in Dutch we call them "huisjesmelkers". High rent prices, very small rooms and badly or overdue maintenance. Most of these places are privatly owned and so long they don't break the law there's nothing you can do.
When you see a place like that runaway quick.

Another big thing is our housing market, there is an high demand of rental and payable properties in the Netherlands by Dutch citizens. So when you are looking as an expat for an home for your family you must be aware that the places to choose from are very very limited.

I see a lot of people who looking for an home in Amsterdam well to be honest their isn't much on the market. So look elsewhere further away.

Most properties in The Netherlands are not furnished so be aware of this fact.

Cynic offers good advice:

Cynic wrote:


Never rent a property from outside the country; probably best to wait until you get there; use something like a hotel or AirBnB to cover your first couple of weeks.

Further still, also be aware of fake holiday home listings where text has been lifted from a genuine site, photos uplifted from an entirely separate source and where the whole thing is then cobbled together and offered at an amazing low rate. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

I've been running a holiday home here in Drenthe since 2005 (I believe I'm the only British expat doing this in the NL, quite amazing when you think of how many Brits are running holiday homes in France and Spain for example) and over the years I have heard from guests who had previously booked accommodation elsewhere that didn't exist, was uncompleted or completely different than described.

Stick to listings on major sites such as Airbnb, Homeaway, Tripadvisor, Booking com, etc. where owners have had to go through a verification check and where previous security issues with some listings being compromised by scammers are now a thing of the past (due to the requirement across these sites for owner/guest communication to go via a secure channel).

Watch out also for some holiday home owners who keep their calendars open on other sites, even after you've booked with them on another site. If they get a booking for your dates via another site that earns them more money, then your booking gets cancelled. You will notice this happening a lot on Airbnb (cancelled bookings are automatically reported in the owner's feedback profile) where owners just cancel bookings at the last minute even. This is not without penalty to the owners themselves, but it seems to still regularly occur among unscrupulous owners.

I cannot say that we have been faced with any obvious scams while settling in the souther part of the county - Eindhoven area.

Or maybe we were too naive to recognize them ;-)

We did deal with a number of agents from various agencies. I have to commend the photography skills of the agents - wide angle lenses and basic photoshop skills make homes look much more attractive than they actually are. Sometimes pictures were taken from just the right angle where you can't see the large factory across the street. Or the cow/sheep/pig farm next door which comes with its own scent.

Visiting the home is paramount before taking the leap.

One item worthy of mention - regardless of the size of the agency, the agent always tried their best to accommodate us. We never felt discriminated against because we were not Dutch.

We looked at 15 or so houses before we managed to secure a home we actually liked. The market is very dynamic and connecting with a couple of agencies (familiar with expats) we felt was very important. Those agencies in turn started sending us upcoming and similar properties.

The two agencies we worked with the most are and - it's very helpful that they maintain English versions of their websites. They agents speak perfect English and understand the extra challenges expats are facing.

Hope this helps.