A Guide to Income Requirements for Renting in the Netherlands

Moving to the Netherlands is the start of an exciting new chapter, and having safe, welcoming housing can make the transition easier. To support you on this journey, we’re providing insights into the Dutch housing market, with a particular focus on income requirements for rental properties. Our team of experts is well-versed in the local rental market and can help you understand the income requirements set by landlords and agencies.

Types of Rental Properties: Affordable Housing and Free Sector Housing

A fundamental bit of knowledge for every prospective Dutch renter involves understanding the housing categories: affordable (social) housing and free sector housing.

Affordable Housing: An Overview and Income Requirements

Fundamentally, affordable housing in the Netherlands is government-subsidised housing. It is designed mainly to assist low- to middle-income residents in the country. The allocation of these housing options is based on the ‘Woningwaarderingsstelsel’ (WWS) points system. It’s a system that takes various factors into account, including property size, amenities, location, and the WOZ (the municipally determined property value).

2023 Affordable Housing Thresholds

For 2023, the affordable housing threshold stands at a base rent of €808.06 per month, meaning that rental properties that rent for under this price are subject to the affordable housing rules. As a result of the points system mentioned earlier, such homes are subject to specific regulations that include a maximum rent and a capped annual rent increase. To rent properties in this category, you must apply for an affordable housing permit (huisvestingsvergunning).

These homes are intended for individuals with an annual income of up to €44,035 if living alone.

For a household made up of two or more people, the total annual income mustn’t exceed €48,625. It’s essential to remember that these figures typically change annually.

Qualification Criteria

To qualify for affordable housing, you have to meet specific conditions:

  • Earn below the designated income limit (you will need proof of income)
  • Have Dutch citizenship or hold a valid residence permit
  • Be registered with a local social housing association
  • Obtain a housing permit indicating a legitimate reason for staying in a specific location (e.g., work, family ties, or school).

Note: Waiting times for affordable housing can be extremely long, sometimes stretching up to ten years.

Free-Sector Housing: Income Requirements and Guidelines

Contrary to affordable housing, private or free-sector housing does not have an income cap. These houses are usually available on the open rental market or via registered housing agents.

Though there isn’t a maximum income limit, landlords typically impose a minimum income requirement. For instance, renters may need to make an income that’s 3 to 4 times the rent.

The following applies to free-sector housing in the Netherlands:

  • No maximum rent
  • No maximum for annual rent increase
  • No points system
  • No rent benefit entitlement
  • No access to the Rent Tribunal (Huurcommissie) for disputes, although rent assessment is still possible within the first 6 months of tenancy.

The Hague: Specific Rules for Rentals

In The Hague, specific rental properties require an affordable housing permit:

  • Properties with rent ranging between €808.06 and €1,116.85 per month
  • Properties that score 185 points or less and have a rent exceeding €808.06

For individuals renting alone, a taxable annual income of less than €57,573 is required.

As for households consisting of more than two people, the total taxable income mustn’t exceed €76,764.

If in doubt, you can check whether you qualify for an affordable housing permit in The Hague.

Finding your Dutch Home

Understanding the differences between affordable housing and free sector housing, coupled with their respective income prerequisites, is the first step to a successful stay in the Netherlands. Transitioning to a new country holds its unique challenges, but remember that with seasoned local expertise, abundant resources, and regular updates, you can find your perfect home.

We hope our guide provides valuable insights that enable you to undertake a fruitful housing search. Remember, we are always ready to support you on your exciting journey. 

Speak to one of our experts or send a message today and find out how we can support you in the Netherlands.

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