I have searched for housing all across the world and came to the following conclusion: Finding student housing in Utrecht is next level. Next level complicated. Next level expensive. Next level competitive. Next level frustrating. I hope this Utrecht Housing Series helps you navigate through the world of Utrecht Student Housing and ultimately find a new home in this beautiful city. Starting off with the ultimate guide on student housing in Utrecht: All helpful tips, tricks and links in one place.
The Ultimate Student Housing Utrecht Guide
Where to search for Student Housing in Utrecht?
#1 Ask your friends and family members
This is for all you people who have lived in the Netherlands before or have friends/family members living in the Netherlands: Ask them! Ask them to share it with their network on social media and keep an eye out for you. Maybe you get lucky and someone’s brother knows a guy that has a sister who moves out of her room.
This is probably the safest and cheapest way of finding student housing in Utrecht as you won’t encounter any hidden agency or website fees and are not competing for the room against other desperate students. However, I am aware that you probably belong to the same group that I belonged to when I first moved to Utrecht: no friends, no family, no connections. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered
#2 Register with official Student Housing Companies
This is something I would recommend to everyone moving to the Netherlands as a student: Register with SSH. It’s Utrecht’s official student housing company with affordable, well-maintained student housing options all across Utrecht. They offer reserved accommodation for international and exchange students located directly on campus. However, these slots are often filled extremely quickly and only available for a maximum of 12 months. Sign up anyways, if you qualify! You never know if someone might cancel their reserved room or drop out early.
If you are doing your entire degree in Utrecht (like me), you qualify for the regular SSH accommodation, which ranks from whole studios over rooms in large student complexes. However, the rule here is: Whoever is registered the longest gets a shot at the room. And yes, you are in the same pool as Dutch students who signed up while still in high school. I broke down how SSH works, The different complexes and options and how you increase your chances of getting the room in a separate post. Have a look!
#3 Use a safe student housing website
No luck with the Facebook groups? Or want to be on the safer side? Try one of Utrecht’s many housing websites. The big advantage of these sites is that the risk of fraud is almost non-existent as thorough background checks ensure the legitimacy of uploaded rooms. The downside is that many of these pages are only available in Dutch and often require a membership fee on a monthly basis.
Here are some websites I have looked for housing myself:
For a more specific breakdown of each site check out Part 2 of this Utrecht Student Housing series.
#4 Join all possible Utrecht Student Housing Facebook Groups
Facebook pages have become a popular method to search for student housing in Utrecht. The advantage is that reacting to posts is entirely free and you won’t encounter any hidden fees either. The disadvantage, however, is that you will face a lot of competition as thousands of students are looking for their future dream home through these pages.
Nevertheless, here is a selection of the top Student Housing groups that I would recommend you to join:
Usually, these pages all worked according to the same principle: You react to a room you like with a comment and a PM to the house in which you tell a little about yourself. If they like you, you will receive an invite to a ‘Hospiteeravond’ during which you get to see the house and meet your flat mates. After the evening, they will reach out to you if you’ve got the room. A Hospiteeravond is quite a strange experience and it usually takes a few tries to get a positive response. To make it a little easier for you, I wrote an article on the Dutch phenomena of ‘hospis’ with some tips, tricks and personal experiences from countless strange hospis.
Important side note: ALWAYS insist on seeing the room before signing a contract or transferring the first payment. Unfortunately, I know a handful of people that fell for scammers and frauds. Even during these times, ask for a virtual viewing or a skype call!
#5 Stay with a guest or host family
Looking for a unique cultural experience? Not ready to live entirely alone yet? Staying with a host family in Utrecht is a great way to start your journey in the Netherlands and get to know the Dutch culture first hand. You will have your own private room in the family’s house and share facilities such as kitchen, bathroom and common areas with them. A possible website to get in touch with a guest family is Hospi Housing, which connects you with a selection of different families. You simply have a skype conversation with them and see if you are a match!
#6 Hire a Real Estate Agency
So here’s the deal with real estate agencies: They are probably the most convenient and least stressful way to look for student housing in Utrecht. You will avoid attending hospis and have the guarantee that your room isn’t a scam. However, they are slightly more expensive and often require insight into your financial situation to guarantee rent payment safety. I would say this is a great option if you are moving to Utrecht with your partner and are looking for a larger apartment or studio.
Another important side note: Not too long ago the Dutch government released a law that bans agency costs. In other words, you cannot be charged a fee if you are renting a property through an agency. However, many agencies try to work their way around this regulation. So keep an eye out for it!
No luck at all? Look for Student Housing outside of Utrecht!
Struggle to find a room after weeks or months of searching? Trust me I’ve been there. If you can’t find anything in Utrecht have a look around in neighbouring towns. These rooms are often less expensive and easier to get. Many of the listed towns below are reachable by bike from Utrecht (embrace the Dutch biking culture!) or by public transport.
Here are a few possibilities:
- De Bilt
Have a look in the mentioned Facebook groups and websites for these towns. It might be a great alternative for your first year of studies until you are a little more settled, made some connections and are registered with SSH for a bit longer. I personally lived in Zeist and Amersfoort before finding student housing in Utrecht. Although sometimes annoying, I was still able to enjoy the Utrecht student life fully.
A few useful links to support you in finding Student Housing in Utrecht
Unsure about the legalities of your rental agreement? Are you encountering problems with your landlord and are uncertain on how to proceed? Do you think your rental price is way above average? The team of Huurteam Utrecht provides your with legal advice and support: https://www.huurteam-utrecht.nl/en/
Problems as an international student with your SSH short-time stay? The International Students Housing Assistance (ISHA) is a joint committee by three Utrecht student associations that supports you when you encounter difficulties with your SSH landlord or accommodation: http://www.ishau.nl
Don’t know if your rent is appropriate? Check it with Utrecht’s official rent price checker depending on your city district and room size: https://www.huurteam-utrecht.nl/en/rental-price-checker/
In need of furniture but don’t want to buy everything from scratch? Simply rent furniture for the period you need it for with Student Furniture Holland: https://www.studentfurnitureholland.com/
Final words on Student Housing in Utrecht
Take it from someone who looked for a total of five student accommodations in Utrecht over the past four years: Student housing in Utrecht is a nightmare. It will most likely take you a few weeks (or months) to find something suitable and affordable. I had friends who slept on couches or in garages for weeks or who paid enormous amounts of money for a shoebox of a room. However, there is a silver lining: Once you have found a room and settled down in Utrecht, this city will make your student years unforgettable!
Do you still have questions on student housing in Utrecht? Check out the other parts of this series on Student Housing Websites, the best student housing districts of Utrecht and the cultural phenomena of participating in a Hospitieeravond. Also, feel free to ask your questions in the comments and I will try my best to answer them.
Good luck, my friend! ♡
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