Expats in Amsterdam are regularly ripped off by dodgy landlords and housing agencies, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday. Often they must pay sky-high fees, can be evicted from their homes without reason and never have their deposit returned, the paper said. International tenants are easy prey: they don’t speak the language and are unfamiliar with regulations, says Gert Jan Bakker of support group Wijksteunpunt Wonen Amsterdam.
Bakker says complaints from expats come in nearly every day, but he cannot supply figures as the city council-run agency does not register the background of the person making the complaint. Cowboys
It is difficult for expats to find a home in the overheated housing market in the Dutch capital. ‘There are a lot of cowboys out there,’ warns Bakker. ‘They often incorrectly demand a month’s rent for their efforts. But an agent cannot be paid commission by the tenant if he is also working for the owner. Expats don’t always know that,’ he explains. Sven Heinen, chairman of city real estate umbrella group Makelaarsvereniging Amsterdam recognises the signs. ‘There are still dodgy brokers out there,’ he said. ‘I have heard about expats being put in front of an ATM and told to pay up on the spot if they want the house.’ The Financieele Dagblad details the problems several tenants have had in trying to get their deposits back, but the paper said that with a single exception it was impossible to get a reaction from the housing agencies involved.