News of: Friday, July 06 2007,

Big clean-up of illegal apartment agencies in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is hunting down the increasing number of apartment and housing agencies that operate without a licence.

Especially due to the rise of the internet, the number of apartment agencies has increased dramatically over the past few years.

The city says there are several hundreds of agencies, of which 80 have a licence and the rest is operating without a licence.

Ninety agencies have applied for a licence, after the city wrote them a letter, telling them to either stop or apply for a licence. Dozens of others have stopped because they don't want to comply with the rules. Agencies that continue to work without a licence risk a fine of EUR 40,000. Some agencies have already been fined.

The purpose of the clean-up is to prevent illegal (sub)lets of particularly social housing apartments, by (mostly rather shady) agencies. About half of all residences in Amsterdam is social housing, for which there is a long waiting list due to the housing shortage in Amsterdam. Illegal agencies disturb the fair distribution of these apartments.

People who rent an apartment through an agency without a licence may rent a flat illegally without knowing, and risk losing the accommodation.

canal apartment in Amsterdam