Inclusive vs. exclusive rent in the Netherlands: what you need to know about utilities and renting 

There's an important difference. 👇

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So you’ve just signed a lease on a new home — congratulations! Before you crack open the Heineken, there’s the question of your rental contract and how this covers your utilities. Inclusive rent is best, right? Or is exclusive better? Let’s talk about it. 

First things first, you need to understand what this means. In the Netherlands, there are two main types of rental contracts: inclusive and exclusive. 

Which of these you opt for will determine what your utility bill will look like and how it is paid. 

In all the excitement of moving into your new rental home, you may forget about the important differences between inclusive versus exclusive rental contracts. Image: Freepik

What’s the difference between inclusive and exclusive rent?

Inclusive and exclusive rent refers to your utilities and whether they’re included or excluded from your monthly rental costs. 

Typically, the landlord or insurance broker will indicate which kind of rental contract comes with a property when it’s listed online. 

What is inclusive rent in the Netherlands? 

An inclusive rental contract means certain expenses are included in the monthly rent you pay to your landlord. 

Once you sign off on an inclusive rent contract in the Netherlands, it should be smooth sailing from then on! Image: Depositphotos

This rent typically includes some or all of your utilities (such as gas, water, electricity, and internet) and other service costs, such as cleaning or garbage disposal costs. 

What is exclusive rent in the Netherlands?

On the other hand, exclusive rental contracts mean that these costs are not included in the total monthly rent indicated in your contract. 

Usually, this means it’s up to you to pull on your pants and arrange your own utility contract. 

You can find the perfect contract to match your living situation. Image: Depositphotos

What about service costs? Typically, these are still included in the total monthly rent unless stated otherwise. 

Stressed out by the hassle of setting up your utilities? Geen probleem: PartnerPete are the experts when it comes to the internet and utility contracts and will help you find the best deal for your situation, entirely in English. Get in contact and get connected!

The pros and cons of inclusive rent in the Netherlands

Whether you’ve just signed an inclusive rental agreement or are searching for a rental property, there are a few important things to keep in mind when considering an inclusive rental contract. 

The pros of inclusive rent in the Netherlands

Inclusive rent is perfect if you’re seeking predictability. With an inclusive rental agreement, you’ll be paying the same amount of money for your utilities each month. This is because it’s an amount set by your landlord and is included in your total monthly rent. 

So, why should you opt for an inclusive rental contract versus an exclusive rental contract when renting in the Netherlands? Image: Freepik

Another huge pro of opting for an inclusive rental contract is that you won’t have to deal with any fluctuations in the energy market month by month.

READ MORE | 14 dang smart ways to save on energy costs in the Netherlands [UPDATED 2023]

On top of this, you won’t be tasked with the challenge of finding providers for your gas, water, electricity, or internet. 

Let op! Ultimately, your landlord can raise the rent once a year if they need to cover higher utility bills. 

An inclusive rental contract is a great option if you only plan to stay somewhere temporarily. It’s also the best choice if you want to move into a fully functioning apartment as soon as possible. 

The cons of inclusive rent in the Netherlands

On the other hand, you’re likely paying for more than you’re actually consuming in gas, water, and electricity. This is because most landlords would rather have you overpay to cover utility costs than have it come out of their wallets. 

Issues with your utility contract can be a hassle if it’s done through your landlord. Image: Freepik

Similarly, you won’t know what kind of utility situation you have, so if any issues arise, you’ll have to rely on your landlord to get them fixed (which isn’t always easy).

The pros and cons of exclusive rent in the Netherlands

Likewise, exclusive rent agreements come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

The pros of exclusive rent in the Netherlands

With exclusive rental agreements, you’ll be in control and can find the best contract for your situation. 

The perfect utility contract is out there! Image: Depositphotos

On top of this, once you’ve settled on a contract, you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending on your utilities. Unlike with an inclusive rental contract, you’ll have more control over what your utility bills will look like. 

READ MORE | Renting in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

In fact, a lot of the time, you can save yourself some money by being the one in charge of your utilities. 

Who doesn’t want to save a little bit of cash? Image: Depositphotos

Like we said above, if a landlord wants to include a fixed monthly fee in your rent, chances are they have guesstimated that your utility usage will be on the higher side. 

When you’re the one footing the utility bill separately, you may find that it costs a lot less than if a landlord were to set a fixed monthly fee. 

The cons of exclusive rent in the Netherlands

On the flip side, you have to deal with the hassle of organising your own utility contract when you first move in, which can feel like a lot on top of all the other responsibilities you have when moving. 

You also have less predictability when it comes to your monthly expenses if you opt for an exclusive rental contract.

Be careful when considering your next utility contract. Image: Depositphotos

Depending on what kind of energy contract you get, your utility costs may fluctuate largely per month, making it difficult to estimate how much you’ll spend on utilities each month. 

Need a utility contract and not sure where to start? PartnerPete is here to help you set up new ones, cancel them or switch contracts. Give them a call to arrange all your utilities in one place, stress-free, and in English!

What to do with your utilities when you first move in?

Once you’ve decided to rent a new place, there are a few things you should do about your utilities when you drop the boxes and move in. 

Figure out if your rent is exclusive or inclusive 

Rental agreements will usually indicate whether utilities are included in the monthly rent or not, but if you’re still in the process of house searching or negotiating, you should find out what the utility situation is. 

Make sure to get in contact with your landlord about the utility situation as soon as possible! Image: Depositphotos

You can decide whether an exclusive or inclusive contract is the one for you and figure out what steps to take after that. 

See “incl. G/W/E” next to a rental listing? This means that gas, water, and electricity prices are included in the rent shown. 

Ask your landlord for a breakdown of costs

If you have an inclusive rent agreement and a breakdown of your costs isn’t included in the rental contract, you are allowed to ask your landlord for a statement clarifying the breakdown of your costs — including your utility costs. 

READ MORE | How to set up your utilities in the Netherlands (in English!) with PartnerPete

Often, you’ll need a breakdown if you want to apply for huurtoeslag (rent allowance), but it’s also useful to know if your landlord is overcharging you for rent.  

Ask your neighbours about the WiFi situation

It’s also wise to ask them about the internet situation in your building. 

Have a chat with your neighbours to break the ice — and talk about your utility situation. Image: Depositphotos

For example, if you don’t have internet or WiFi included in your rent, you could ask your neighbours to ‘share’ their internet and split the costs. 

READ MORE | Setting up the internet in the Netherlands: the complete guide

Or perhaps you want to get fibre optics for your home but aren’t sure if they’re available in your neighbourhood. Asking your neighbours could give you some useful info (and give you a good reason to meet them!) 

What to do with your Dutch utility contract if you’re ending your rental contract

There are also a few things you have to keep in mind when moving houses and choosing to end your rental contract — again, this depends on whether you have an inclusive or exclusive rental contract. 

Ending your rental contract when you’re renting inclusively

If you’re renting inclusively, hoera! You don’t have to do anything. It’s up to your landlord to handle the utility contract — and let’s face it, they will likely just have their next tenant to pay for that contract once they move in. 

Ending your rental contract when you’re renting exclusively

If you’re renting exclusively, there’s a little bit more for you to think about. There are two main options for ending your contract. You can: 

  • Keep your current contract and ask your utility provider to have it transferred to your next house
  • Cancel your current contract in your old house and switch to a new contract in the new house (keeping in mind cancellation fees).
You can either transfer your contract to your new home, or cancel it entirely. Image: Depositphotos

In both cases, you should call your utility provider to make sure you tie up any loose ends before settling in a new place. 

Utilities and your rental contract don’t have to be super confusing and stressful. 

READ MORE | 5 things we wish we knew about utilities in the Netherlands

Understanding your rent situation and picking the best utility contracts are important steps for making your life just a little bit easier — put in a bit of work, and trust us, it’s worth it!  

Do you have any tips for inclusive and exclusive renters? Share them in the comments!

Feature Image:Freepik
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien has been working as a writer and editor at DutchReview for over two years, originally moving to the Netherlands as a tween. Equipped with a Bachelor’s in communication and media and a Master’s in political communication, she’s here to stay for her passion for writing, whether it’s current Dutch affairs, the energy market, or universities. Just like the Dutch, Katrien lives by her agenda and enjoys the occasional frietje met mayo — she just wishes she could grow tall, too.

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