Illegal subletting in Amsterdam getting out of control

Newsflash! (not really) The Amsterdam housing market is ridden with housing fraud and illegal subletting.

It is estimated that almost a fifth of the homes in Amsterdam are being illegally sublet. This poses a serious problem as only 3% of the all housing corporations’ homes enter the market each year, and the waiting time for a house is nearly 14 years.

Subletting in Amsterdam: What are the housing associations doing?

These housing corporations have taken it upon themselves to catch people committing housing fraud by scrolling through rental websites. A NOS report stated that one rental site found 4300 suspicious addressed.

Consequences of illegally subletting in Amsterdam

A person found to be illegally subletting a property will be evicted, and will not be charged a penalty fine as it isn’t an economic offense. However, there could be a penalty clause included in the tenancy agreement for illegally subletting a home. So be sure to read that agreement carefully before choosing to sublet!

Subletting in Amsterdam: The many forms of Gentrification in the Netherlands

Gentrification can be marked by the growing anxiety around displacement of low income people by more affluent and higher income people who can afford to pay the rising rental prices, or to buy a house which is valued much higher than before. Tying gentrification to only Airbnb where it drives up the demand of rental houses and increases the economic value of neighbourhoods, does not look at the full picture.

Illegal subletting has been differentiated from Airbnb to focus directly on the threat it poses to the social housing system, where fewer affordable houses are available for families and people from the lower income group. Jolanda Roffelsen, an inspector for one of the biggest housing associations in Amsterdam, told NOS that they are failing to provide these affordable homes because more and more people choose to illegally sublet to make an extra income, by grossly overcharging for rent. This makes the houses more accessible and affordable for the more affluent renters, rather than the low income families. (want to read more about the cost of living in Amsterdam, which could be a reason that people could feel the need to illegally sublet? Totally possible!)

So is it really worth participating in the process of gentrification? Do you think the government should be doing more to curb this, or does this fall entirely on the housing associations? What do you think we can do as renters? Let us know in the comments!

Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


  1. Currently, I am leaving in a dirty, disgusting house, where my roommate treats me like shit( ask me how, you’ll understand inhumanity)!
    And it’s so far away from my work place that I spend a huge amount travelling everyday! I am paying 700 for a room where I can barely walk and it’s outside the ring, only cause I need registration as my Visa requirement. I cannot afford to move cause everything is so expensive and the ones that I can afford comes without registration.
    So tell me, how can you people help me with this?

  2. I think that the government has to do something more to control this situation. Stricter rules, stronger consequences for illegal subletting. Clearly it’s not really going the right way now and I don’t think that the housing associations will take the initiative to really do something about it.

    Great article btw! Got a good insight.

    • Get real. This “government control” rised the prices already! But… if you see who are the owners of the majority of houses in Amsterdam then you’ll understand that the goverment did it in their interest.

      Because from the tenant point of view… What do you need registration for? (Especially when you already have some address in some other EU-country).
      Why not letting people live how many persons they want in one room?
      Less control = lower prices!
      Not everyone needs 1-year renting contract (and paying the commision for the agency).


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