Are you renting a self-contained studio/apartment in the Netherlands? You may be entitled to the huurtoeslag — otherwise known as rental allowance!
So you’re renting in the Netherlands and you’re struggling? A lot of us know what that feels like, we’ve moaned enough here at DutchReview about crazy rental prices and the housing shortage. But what about rent allowance in the Netherlands?
Even after you’ve gone through the arduous process of opening a Dutch bank account, renting is so damn hard. It can feel like going from broke to rich and back to broke again every month. Welcome.
Well there’s no need to struggle anymore. You may be entitled to rent allowance in the Netherlands (huurtoeslag), which will help you with your rent cost! If you are a low-middle income earner, there is a government contribution that will help with rent (as rent is so friggin expensive here).
What are the conditions of rent allowance in the Netherlands?
You (or your fiscal partner) must be:
- 18 or over
- Renting independent accommodation, with a signed agreement with a landlord
- Certain that your income is not too high
- Registered to the rented property
- Living in self-sufficient accommodation
- A national of the EU/EEA or in possession of a valid residence or work permit
Are expats entitled to rent allowance in the Netherlands?
Yes! Anybody legally registered in the country is entitled as long as they fit certain criteria. Unfortunately, this most of the time does not include international students (sorry guys, I don’t make the rules, I know you struggle too).
Most of this has to do with the fact that you need to have your own front door or specific address to be able to get rent benefits in the Netherlands. Student houses are often exempted from that.
Income limits and the huurtoeslag
Each year, the income and rental limits of the huurtoeslag are changed. Sometimes these changes are quite significant, in 2021 however, the conditions do not differ significantly from the conditions of 2020 — which did see some important changes.
Previously, the income limit was a hard limit: if you earned even one euro above the limit, you would lose your housing allowance, and maybe even need to pay back several months’ worth of the subsidy. That created a poverty trap, so it is excellent news that the government has chosen to pursue a different tack.
This doesn’t mean that everyone gets rent allowance all of a sudden, though: in fact, the new system should allow for around the same number of people as before to get huurtoeslag, so don’t start partying yet. The purpose of this change is purely to eliminate the nightmarish situation of earning a tiny bit extra and suddenly needing to pay the entirety of your rent by yourself.
Rent allowance in the Netherlands: the new system
The new system will instead gradually phase out the rent subsidy over several months, and begin phasing out earlier, or at a lower income point. It will be calculated as a combination between a “personal contribution” and regular “rent subsidy”. If you’re someone with a very low income, then you’ll pay a minimal income contribution and get a sizeable rent subsidy. But if you’re right near the income limit, then you’ll be paying a higher personal contribution and will receive a lower subsidy. This will minimise the financial shock when the rent allowance is eventually withdrawn.
All that being said, let’s get to the nitty gritty of this article: the numbers, and what they mean for your eligibility for rent allowance. Because of the new rules, there are no specific figures for maximum income, because that will be calculated based on your rent, your age, and your living situation.
However, we did want to give you a general idea of what kind of range you’re looking at. So we’ve included the latest numbers for 2021 — just bear in mind that perhaps if your income is slightly more than this number, you might still be eligible, and if it’s slightly less and you have an otherwise financially stable existence, you might not be granted the subsidy.
Huurtoeslag conditions 2021 if you are over 23 and living in a Single household
- Income (annually) below c. €22,700 (average of 2019 figures)
- Monthly rent is less than € 752.33
- Your savings/investments no higher than €31,340
Huurtoeslag conditions 2021 if you are over 23 and living with a fiscal partner
- Income combined (annually) below c. €30,825 (average of 2019 figures)
- Monthly rent below €752.33
- Your savings/investments no higher than € 62,680 together
Huurtoeslag conditions 2021 if you are under 23 years old and living in a single household
- Income (annually) below c. €22,400 (average of 2019 figures)
- Monthly rent below € 442.46
- Your savings/investments no higher than €31,340
If you are under 23 years old and living with a fiscal partner
- Income combined (annually) below c. €30,400 (average of 2019 figures)
- Monthly rent below €442.46
- Your savings/investments no higher than €62,680 together
How do I apply for the rent allowance in the Netherlands?
If you are wanting to apply for rent subsidy in the Netherlands, then you need to go on the government website — Belastingdienst. From there you can apply for your rent allowance. You need a DigiD to do this, so if you are without one, don’t forget to apply for one (it’s a must-have here anyway). Let’s not get me started on the difficulty of actually getting a DigiD though, that rant is for another article.
If you’re looking for a quick way to see if you’ll qualify and how much for, then here is a test calculation. Some rental places also can tell you beforehand if you’re eligible before you even rent the property, so it’s worth checking anyway.
After more articles about renting in the Netherlands? Don’t forget to check out our other articles. We’ve covered the housing crisis, the impact of the nitrogen crisis on building, as well as the many other allowances that you can receive in the Netherlands.
Feature Image: Emily Hasson/Pixabay.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018, but was fully updated in January 2020 for your reading pleasure.