Everything you need to know about anti-squatting in the Netherlands (aka ‘antikraak’)

Let's talk about antikraak ๐Ÿก

Squatting and crime are not things you see much of in the Netherlands compared to other countries, although they do exist. Anti-squatting initiatives are helping to keep both of them down.

Anti-squatting in the Netherlands is basically a legal version of squatting. You can temporarily stay in empty buildings (usually old schools or offices) for a cheap price until the property is demolished or repurposed.

This can be great for people who are studying, have a tight financial budget, or are only here for a few months.

But is it as easy as that? No โ€” unfortunately, there’s a catch.

The benefits of anti-squatting in the Netherlands

Anti-squatting usually prevents actual squatting (which is illegal), and helps to preserve the building by preventing vandalism.

More housing, less of a housing crisis

A major advantage of anti-squatting is that it helps to put pressure off the waiting list for rental properties (we’ve ranted about the housing crisis in the Netherlands loads of times).

sad-student-sitting-on-a-bench-due-to-the-housing-crisis
Looking for housing in the Netherlands? It may actually be easier to catch a unicorn in the current housing climate! Image: Depositphotos

Of course, it’s not foolproof and doesn’t solve the issue, but it definitely gives people more of an opportunity to find housing.

It’s cheaper

As we know, rental prices in the Netherlands are through the roof. In antikraak housing, you are technically only paying for the bills and not much extra, that’s why it’s so cheap.

The person who owns the building is also rewarded for keeping it in good condition. This way, they avoid any nasty fines.

More flexibility

Anti-squat housing is temporary and you have the freedom to terminate your contract whenever you want, provided you give the agency at least 14 days’ notice.

As a result, this can be a great option whilst you’re looking for something more permanent or if you’re not sure how long you’ll be in the Netherlands.

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

If you have been asked to leave and you’ve been a good tenant, most agencies will help you find somewhere else to live โ€” so you won’t be left to fend for yourself entirely.

Less crime

A neighbourhood full of derelict and disused houses not only makes the area look run down, but it can also encourage crime. Empty buildings can provide a venue for antisocial behaviour such as drug abuse.

In areas where people take pride in their living and working environments, this is less likely to happen.

Young-couple-sitting-on-their-new-bedroom-floor-in-an-antikraak-house
Try not to be too stressed about the move! Image: Pexels

Before moving on to the disadvantages (and as you can see, the list is much larger), let us point out that they should be taken with a pinch of salt.

As long as you are aware of these potential downsides and you’re realistic about your expectations, you can definitely make it work!

The disadvantages of anti-squatting in the Netherlands

Now, let’s get to that catch we mentioned…

It’s difficult to find

If you thought securing an anti-squatting property was a quick process, we have to disappoint you.

Demand is still high, so you’ll likely be put onto another waiting list โ€” urrrghh!

There’s no housing security

It’s temporary, and you have less security in terms of knowing for sure how long you’ll be able to stay (there likely won’t be an end date). Things can change quickly and sometimes you only have between 14 to 28 days to find a new place to rent.

An introduction is necessary

It can be hard to get into the programme as sometimes you need to be referred to the agency by a previous or current tenant, so if you don’t know any participants, you could be out of luck.

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

There are different rental conditions

The agency can show up unannounced โ€” and they do have a key.

Although it’s rare for them to use it, they’re technically allowed to enter your antikraak, meaning you may have to compromise some of your privacy.

man-waving-hello-to-landlord-checking-his-antikraak-anti-squatting-property-in-the-Netherlands
Don’t fancy having to say hi to your landlord at 5 AM? Antikraak may not be for you! Image: Depositphotos

If you have children, it’s a no-go for some properties. Kids usually aren’t allowed to stay in the building, and if you happen to become pregnant, this might be a reason for the agency to terminate your contract.

You will have very few rights

Generally, the rules that apply for regular rental properties don’t apply to antikraak housing, so bear that in mind. You sign an agreement that states you’ll be ‘loaning’ the property for only a limited amount of time.

This automatically means that you won’t have the same protection that you would with an officially rented property.

There are maximum rental periods

You can only stay in the property for a maximum of five years, and even then, it’s extremely rare to be able to stay for that long. So if you’re looking for a long-term home, this likely won’t be the solution for you.

There are often no basic facilities

You may not have adequate facilities when it comes to things like heating and bathrooms โ€” so do check this or else you might be extremely cold in the winter!

There will be rules

You’re taking care of a property on behalf of an owner, so there are a few conditions you’ll need to fulfil!

an-antikraak-house-with-a-ladder-leaning-up-against-the-wall-for-repairs-as-part-of-anti-squatting-in-the-Netherlands
Let’s get to work! Image: Depositphotos
  • You must not leave for more than three nights at once
  • You are not allowed to have any guests stay the night
  • You are not allowed to take any kind of drugs while on the property
  • You cannot make any major structural changes (so no new kitchen for you!)
  • You are not allowed to throw parties (waa! ๐Ÿ˜ญ)
  • You must inform the agency if you’re on holiday because they can refill the space while you are gone.

Other important information about anti-squatting in the Netherlands:

  • Like other rented properties, you must keep the place clean, and you usually cannot overly decorate the property either.
  • You must be over 18 to rent an antikraak property.
  • A registration fee, along with a deposit, is usually required (like other rental properties), and sometimes you may be invited to an interview.
  • In some instances, you will be charged a โ‚ฌ50 safety fee. This means that you’ll be provided fire safety equipment, like some fire alarms or a fire extinguisher.

Anti-squatting organisations in the Netherlands

Here are some of the anti-squatting agencies in the Netherlands. To get started, you should sign up on their websites.

Congrats on your new home/office โ€” and remember: no parties!

Have you ever lived in an anti-squatting property? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

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