How to avoid rental housing scams in The Netherlands

 How do you recognise an apartment scammer? What are common rental scams? Especially for those whom are looking for a cheap apartment in The Netherlands it’s good to keep an eye out for rental housing scams in The Netherlands. Because your cheap apartment in The Netherlands might not be so cheap after all.
Alice van der Laan


Scammers blog

Of course there many legitimate and reliable Dutch rental agencies around but unfortunately there is a small group that takes advantage of the fact that expats don’t speak the language, are not familiar with the law and do not know how to avoid common rental scams. But not anymore! Read the following article and you’ll transform into an expert in how to avoid rental housing scams in The Netherlands!

How do you recognize an apartment scammer in The Netherlands?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap apartments in The Netherlands, located in a desired area, usually don’t fall in your lap. Look out for these signs if you want to avoid rental housing scams in The Netherlands.

  1. The landlord is currently in a foreign country
  2. The person you are talking to does not speak or write English or Dutch fluently or will resemble a text that was translated with Google Translate
  3. Your questions are not answered in a clear way or ignored
  4. You need to pay a deposit before you have even seen the property
  5. You’re asked to various kinds of fees like high administration, contract or key fees. These are illegal.
  6. The money has to be transferred through semi-anonymous services like Western Union, MoneyGram, HomeAway or AirBNB
  7. The landlord communicates through email, a Facebookpage, skype or a phone number. They don’t offer an actual business address or a trustworthy website
  8. You have found the advert on Facebook, Marktplaats or websites like or you’ve been send an message directly
  9. You are not allowed to register at the address (not always a scam but take care)

What can I do to prevent housing scams in The Netherlands?

Of course there are legitimate Dutch rental agencies that offer cheap apartments in The Netherlands for a reasonable price. They might even communicate by email and phone and still be reliable and trustworthy. It’s important to remember that it usually involves a combination of the points above when you want to avoid rental housing scams in The Netherlands. Please keep the following tips in mind if you are searching for an apartment in The Netherlands.

  1. Copy and paste the advert text in Google. Scammers sometimes copy the exact text of the property and then lower the price dramatically.
  2. Take a closer look at the email address and contact name. It’s a red flag when it’s weirdly spelled.
  3. Use common sense.
  4. Never give anyone an advanced copy of your ID or passport. It might be used as well.
  5. Always create and sign a rental agreement before you pay.
  6. Don’t trust them solely because they have sent you their ID or Passport copy. This can be a fraud as well.
  7. Check who owns the apartment the kadaster property register. 
  8. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured, scammers are usually in a hurry.
  9. If you’re abroad: have someone check the property, ring the bell and check if it’s really up for rent.
  10. Build a file, if you have to pay, pay by bank transfer. Send confirmation emails and record the conversation with your phone. Keep screenshots of the rental ad and keep all emails.


You have been scammed, what to do next?

First of all, we are very sad to hear. 

  1. Go to the police and press charges
  2. Report the scammer so he can be deleted from the platform (and hopefully won’t hurt many more others)
  3. Deposits are legal but many other fees like high administration, key and contractfees are not. If you have paid a fee that was raised illegally, you might have it refunded.

We hope this article helps you avoiding online scammers. If you need help with your relocation, please click the 'Get in touch with us' button!


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