Help wanted to house international students

Help wanted to house international students
26/07/2019

Help wanted to house international students

Platform Student and City expects many new international students to arrive to The Hague in August and September. The platform is a cooperation between all higher education institutes and the Municipality of The Hague aimed at improving The Hague as student city. Finding a house can be difficult for new international students. You can help an international student by temporarily offering a private room in your home.

Would it not be great if you could share your experience as international in The Hague region with a young international student? You could help him/her settle in and become accustomed to the city, the culture and the Dutch. It goes without saying that it is up to you to decide the length of your guest’s stay, what rules apply during the stay and whether the student should contribute financially by paying rent. This is a temporary measurement until the student can find a permanent house.

We cannot confirm now how many temporary homes will be required. This depends on the actual number of Dutch and international students moving to The Hague and the availability of other student housing. We do expect a shortage of affordable student housing this summer. You could be part of an innovative way to offer international students a warm welcome to the city.

This initiative to ask internationals to offer a room to students stems from a collaboration of Platform Student and City, Erasmus Student Network (hereinafter ‘ESN’) and The Student Realtor. ESN is a student association for international students. The Student Realtor is a student real estate agency helping international students to find a house.

How does it work?

  • If you would like to offer a room to an international student as per mid-August and/or the beginning of September, we encourage you to sign-up through this form.
  • During registration you can indicate the length of maximum stay and personal preferences. For example, gender, nationality, age, study etc. You can also provide your contact information (telephone and email address).
  • The ESN and Student Realtor will collect all registrations. Only one team member has access to the information. This person will remain independent and neutral. Your contact details will be treated confidentially according to the GDPR.
  • The higher education institutions encourage students to first search for permanent housing. Should this fail on time, students could turn to the international office of their school. The international office will connect the student with ESN/The Student Realtor. ESN/The Student Realtor will facilitate a connection by providing the student with your contact details. This will allow the participating international and the student to meet, get to know each other and determine whether they feel comfortable temporarily sharing a home.  You may both object if you feel there is no ‘match’ and you will be able to communicate this to ESN/The Student Realtor. Should this occur, the student will be given contact details of another participant, if available.  
  • In case of questions, ESN and The Student Realtor can be contacted by email: info@thestudentrealtor.com.
  • Platform Student and City, cooperating higher education institutions and the Municipality of The Hague, ESN/The Student Realtor or The Hague International Centre are no part in the arrangement between the student and the international offering a room. The parties mentioned above are not responsible for what happens between the international and the student or what happens during the stay of the student in your house. Only the opportunity for contact between the international and student is facilitated.

What rules apply when temporary housing a student?

Below is a clarification of the rules and regulations for financial compensation and the agreement you could set up with the student.  These are general rules set by the central government. Rules may not apply to your individual case. We advise to confirm agreements in writing, to ensure clarity on expectations for those involved.

There are two options:

  1. Agreements on, for example, financial compensation, length of stay and use of the room and kitchen should be confirmed in writing.
  2. A standard rental agreement can be used. 

Are you planning on renting out part of your home, or just one room? Then please note the following:

  • A ‘hospitakamer’ is a room rented out by the main occupant of the property (the lessor). The lessor can either be the owner of the property, or a lessee of the property. When renting out a ‘hospitakamer’, the first 9 months of the rental agreement should be considered a notice period. Within this timeframe, it is possible for the lessor to terminate the agreement without grounds. The lessee has no security of tenure/ rent protection during this time. It is however required for the lessor to uphold a term of notice of at least 3 months. Once the 9-month notice period has passed, security of tenure/ rent protection will apply; the lessor will need a legal reason to terminate the agreement.
  • Up to a certain threshold, the lessor will be exempt from tax on income generated through renting out (part of) his or her home. A part of this income is exempted. Each year, the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst) determines this threshold. Currently, the threshold is set at €5.367 (2019). 
  • Are you the tenant/lessee and main occupant of a property and would you like to sublet part of your home? Please first check the rental agreement for a subletting clause. If the rental agreement states that you are not allowed to sublet, you can ask the homeowner for an exemption.
  • If you sublet part of your home, a written rental agreement with the subtenant is required. Did you enter into an agreement with a subtenant? Please report this to the Dutch Tax Office within 4 weeks. This will prevent the subtenant’s income and assets from being taken into account in determining your housing allowance (huurtoeslag). Is there no written rental agreement? The subtenant’s income and assets will be incorporated in the calculation of your housing allowance, as the subtenant will be considered a ‘regular’ tenant.  
  • If you would like to charge rent, this can be calculated by adding up the basic rent and service charges. Service charges include the cost of energy and water (utilities), for which an estimate can be used. The maximum basic rent should be determined based on a points-based system. As the instructions are in Dutch, ESN/The Student Realtor can be contacted for assistance.
  • It is advisable to agree whether the rent should be paid on a weekly or monthly basis, determine a rent due date and agree on a possible settlement the moment the student finds permanent housing.
  • The student should be able to register at your residential address in the Dutch municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) to obtain a BSN (citizen service number), needed for taking out health insurance or open a bank account. Do note that the registration of another person at your address may result in an increase of your municipal and water taxes. You could incorporate the increase in the rent of the student.
  • The privacy of the student should be respected at all times. You are not allowed to use or enter the room that is rented out to the student without the student’s consent. The student has the right to lock his or her room.

We hope you and your temporary guest will have a great time.

Please sign-up by clicking here

 

Thank you for helping international students find a new home,

Platform Student and City.