Tackling the housing crisis head on

Delft is a beautiful student city. The narrow roads, the cozy canals, and the young population make you feel you’re right at home. Except finding a home in Delft is a challenge on its own.

There has been a constant increase in the number of international students joining TU Delft in the past 5 years, over multiple disciplines.  With no significant increase in the student housing facilities in the city, international students are forced to look on arranging their own accommodation. An address is compulsory for registration with the municipality, and hence, to register yourself in The Netherlands. It is, therefore,  always adviced to secure one’s accommodation before choosing to move to Delft for studies.

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Beautiful Delft, and its narrow passageways! (Taken from /u/FrenkAnderwood, reddit)

In the past 15 months in this country, I have moved to two houses and would be moving to a 3rd place soon. While there was a major amount of luck involved, it always pays to stay alert. Here’s how I managed to dissolve my housing woes!

1. Keeping my options open:

 

There are multiple possibilities you can look into when searching for a house to live in. Most of them are online – websites like http://www.kamernet.nl are oriented towards individual rooms for rent, while other websites like http://www.pararius.nl, funda.nl, and http://www.expatrentals.eu are more focused on renting apartments. Most websites charge a monthly rate for their services. Apart from websites, there are groups on facebook where people often rent/sublet their own rooms for the specified duration. This helps both the buyer and seller as there is no middle-man (and hence no processing fee) involved. The downside of Facebook groups is the extremely high demand to supply ratio.  While we only require one room to live in, because of the lack of options one may have to share an apartment with other students/ working individuals. Housing is not always affordable and regularly checking all these avenues helped me secure the best possible deal!

2. Defined the minimum I need from a room:

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Tiny and cozy, is just what I want! (Taken from /u/herzburger, reddit)

For some, a house is just a place where one goes back to sleep after a tiring day. For others, it is their safe place, where they can perform at their peak, mentally. Clearly, expectations of different people from a house are different. In my personal case, I was looking for a house which was furnished and had all basic amenities. This helped filter my choices from the websites mentioned above and focussed my search in a specific direction.  When going for a viewing for the room, the hygiene of the communal areas is a must: the kitchen, the common room, and the toilet/bathroom. I was able to make a rough idea about the kind of people I would be living with, based on how they maintain the common areas. Defining the minimum requirements also helps in setting a realistic budget limit for the kind of house they wish to live in.

3. Understanding the fine print:

Ballpoint Pen on Top of White Printer Paper Beside 100 U.s. Dollar Bill

Keeping a strong eye on where you are paying.

There are a few details which go unnoticed when looking for listings on Facebook or through websites. Sellers sometimes include the rent of the room alone, ignoring the price of the utilities(gas, water, electricity, internet) per month. On the first look, the rent may seem enticing, but adding monthly utility bills gives a round idea of the overall money one has to spend per month on their accommodation.

Another common misconception is subletting vs renting. Sub-letting is only for a short duration, where the student who is currently living in a house decides to rent. If I were to move into a sublet apartment, the municipality still records the resident of the house to be the renter and not me.  This can put one in serious pickle juice!

4. Protecting myself from scams:

Because of the rampant demand for houses, scammers lurk out in the open, looking for vulnerable students to take money from. There are a few indicators I used to distinguish a scam listing from a genuine listing. If any listing demands that one sends their personal identification documents or money before they send one a contract, red alert! These might be an indication of identity theft and scams! It is also always safe to check the contract for any misprints or mistakes which might indicate it to be fake.

 

While finding a good house still is a matter of luck, luck favors those who try! Stay alert and stay awesome!

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