All you need to know about housing allowance
Moving to a new rental home in the Netherlands? Be sure to check if you’re entitled to receive housing allowance ('huurtoeslag'). In this blog, we'll share all the details and guide you through the application process, step-by-step.
If you have a relatively low income, most rents are too high in relation to what you earn. On request, the Tax Services of the Dutch government can provide you with an allowance. This is applicable to both Dutch and international tenants, including expatriate workers and students. Housing allowance makes your rent more affordable because you'll receive a significant cost reduction from the Dutch government.
Terms and conditions
You can only apply for housing allowance if you’re living in a self-contained home, meaning you have your own kitchen, bathroom, toilet, and living area(s). There are a number of requirements that you need to meet to receive the housing allowance. We’ve listed the most important terms and conditions:
- You are 18 years or older
- You have legal residence status in the Netherlands
- You’re officially registered at the City Hall
As housing allowance is only granted for complete calendar months, it’s important you report your new address at the beginning of the month. If your rental agreement starts mid-month, or you register halfway through the month, you’re only entitled to housing allowance for the subsequent month.
- You have a valid citizen service number (BSN, burgerservicenummer)
You’ll receive this number about 1 week after registering at the municipality.
- You have a valid Dutch bank account
Housing allowance will only be paid to a Dutch bank account, registered in the applicant’s name. You can open a Dutch bank account after registering in the Netherlands.
Whether you're entitled to housing allowance, depends on your basic rent, income, and savings.
- Basic rent
If you are younger than 23 years old, your basic rent and service costs (energy costs for common areas, cleaning costs for common areas, and caretaker costs) can’t exceed €442.46. If you are 23 years or older, the basic rent and service costs can’t be higher than €763.47 per month. This amount doesn’t include your supplies for heating, energy, water, internet, and TV.
The higher your income, the less housing allowance you’ll receive. It might also be that your income is too high to receive housing allowance. How high your income can be, depends on your basic rent, your age, and the composition of your household. You can check here (in Dutch) if you can receive housing allowance.
If you rent a home by yourself, your savings and private assets can’t exceed €31,747. If you live together, your collective savings shouldn’t be higher than €63,494.
How to apply for housing allowance
Once you’re logged in, go to ‘Huurtoeslag’ and press ‘Aanvragen’. Here you can fill out the application form. Make sure to have the following details to hand:
- Your basic rent and service costs
Your basic rent and the advance payment of service costs are specified in your rental agreement. The service costs cover the costs for cleaning and energy of the common areas and the caretaker costs.
- Gross yearly income
This is your (expected) income from employment or (social) benefits for the current year. This excludes any income that you receive from parents, scholarships, or other gifts. ‘Gross’ is the amount mentioned on your salary slip before the deduction of the wage tax.
Here, you'll need to fill your savings amount per January 1 of the current year.
On average, the government needs 8 to 13 weeks to process your housing allowance application. You’ll receive the housing allowance from the government in your personal Dutch bank account. Be sure to provide your IBAN number via ‘MijnToeslagen’ to receive the payments.
Report changes on time
Housing allowance is granted per calendar year. You’ll need to update your personal details, and estimations of your income and savings each year. To receive housing allowance, you must meet the above-mentioned conditions each calendar year.
Does your income change during the year? Or is your partner moving in? Via ‘MijnToeslagen’, you need to inform the Tax Service Office within 4 weeks about the following changes:
- Your income changes
- Your household composition changes
- You are moving (abroad)
- Your rent changes
If a change has any consequences for the amount of your allowance fee, the Tax Service Office will adjust the monthly amount or stop your housing allowance.
The Tax Service Office is very strict when it comes to distributing the housing allowance. If you receive allowance incorrectly, you'll need to repay it. Make sure to submit any changes in time.