Rent allowance in The Netherlands

It is not easy for (international) students to find housing in the Netherlands. The country is one of the most populated countries per square kilometre in Europe and has a severe housing shortage. The Dutch government, however, helps starters, students and people with low incomes. To do so, the government provides people that meet the conditions and income requirements with a monthly rent allowance.

Not many people know that internationals can also apply for rent allowance in the Netherlands. This page explains what the conditions are and how you can apply for rent allowance.

Can international students be entitled to rent allowance in the Netherlands?

International students can be entitled to rent allowance in the Netherlands if they comply with certain conditions. For instance, they need to be renting an independent accommodation, be registered in the Netherlands and comply with other requirements. Below you’ll find a complete overview of the requirements for rent benefit in the Netherlands.

What are the conditions for rent allowance in the Netherlands?

The Belastingdienst (the Dutch tax authority) published a list of requirements regarding the rent allowance. The conditions for rent benefit in the Netherlands are:

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older
  • You’re renting an independent space (your home has private access through a front door and is equipped with a kitchen and toilet) and signed a rental lease contract.
  • You can prove you’re paying monthly rent (through a bank statement, for example).
  • You’re registered with your home address in the Netherlands at your local municipality
  • Your income and capital do not exceed certain limits (find the exact limits below)
  • Your rent and service costs cannot exceed a certain limit
  • You have the nationality of an EU country, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Iceland or are in possession of a valid residence permit or work permit

What are the income requirements for rent allowance?

There are certain income requirements for rent allowance. The exact requirements differ per household situation and age. To find the most up to date version of these requirements, you can visit our page for international students regarding benefits & allowances.

If you get a raise at work and suddenly earn more money than the income requirement, you should always communicate those changes to the Dutch tax authority. You might even have to cancel the rent allowance. If you fail to do so, you’ll need to pay back the received amount of rent allowance you were not entitled to. This also applies if your capital grows.

How do I apply for rent allowance in the Netherlands?

If you comply to all of the above conditions, you can apply for rent allowance through the website of the Dutch tax authority. You must have a BSN (citizen service number) to apply. Additionally, you will need a DigiD in order to apply for rent benefit. When applying for rent benefit, make sure to check the amount of rent and service costs you are paying and to check your yearly income beforehand. Once you start to receive the monthly allowance, you do not have to apply for it again. Unless you move to another accommodation or your situation changes otherwise.

If you live in the Netherlands and comply to the conditions, you can also apply for healthcare allowance.

How will I receive payment?

Once you have applied for rent allowance, the Dutch tax administration (‘Belastingdienst’) will check whether you are eligible for rent allowance. If the Belastingdienst approves your application, you will receive payment. This will be transferred to your Dutch bank account. Payments are made in advance, almost always on the 20th of each month.

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