Regular housing expenses
What kind of expenses are there?
Once you find your home in Groningen you have a lot of things to organize! When your rent includes utilities, your landlord has already settled everything. When it is not included in your rent, you must arrange it by yourself. You can see in your rental contract if the utilities are included or not.
Here is a list of useful information about practical things like water, electricity, waste removal etc.
Electricity & gas
Although it is possible to buy these services separate from one another most providers in the Netherlands will offer discounts if you choose the same provider for both. The infrastructure provider for both electricity and gas is Enexis, but you are free to choose the actual supplier yourself. You can compare suppliers to find the one that most suits your needs. Some suppliers: Oxxio, Nuon, Essent, Eneco
Once you have found a supplier they will send you an estimate of the monthly costs based on the size of your household. At the end of the year you will be sent an invoice detailing your consumption. This bill is normally sent to the person who has been residing in the building in the house the longest, but should be divided between all residents. Depending on the bill, you will either have to pay the difference or the difference will be paid out to you if you used less than anticipated.
NV Waterbedrijf Groningen is the water provider of Groningen. Most households choose to pay a fixed amount every three months based on how many people live in the house and their expected water usage. At the end of the year WML will then send you a bill detailing your usage and the actual price of the water used and will then either reimburse you if you paid too much or ask you to pay the difference if you used more than your fixed quarter-yearly amount.
When choosing an Internet provider the first choice you have to make is whether you want a regular cable connection or if you want a fiberglass connection. Fiberglass Internet is a lot faster, but costs more and isn’t available everywhere yet. Regular cable Internet is available almost everywhere and shouldn’t cost you more than €5 per month (if you have 5/6 roommates) for a decent connection speed. Usually setting up your Internet connection will take about three weeks. Use this site to find a comparison between the different Internet providers and packages (should you want to combine TV, phone and Internet). For new build houses it is possible the choice has already been made.
Liability Insurance (WA-verzekering) may come in handy if you accidentally damage someone else’s property. Some landlords might even require you to take out liability insurance before even considering you a prospective tenant. You can get liability insurance through your Dutch bank or it can be bought at some department stores such as HEMA for a reasonably low fee.
Another insurance you might want to consider taking out is contents insurance (Inboedelverzekering). Contents insurance pays for damage done to, or the loss of, your personal possessions while they are in your home. Generally it’ll cover things like theft, and water or fire damage. You should look into your bank or department stores such as HEMA if you’re interested in taking out contents insurance or use a comparison site like Independer to compare the different options.
Every house should have a waste pass (afvalpas). This pass allows you to make use of the underground rubbish points in Groningen. There are lots of bring points in Groningen, check here (in Dutch) where you must bring your waste. If your house does not have a waste pass, or if it is lost or missing, you can apply for a new one. First of all, find out which person in your house pays for the waste collection tax (afvalstoffenheffing). This is the person who should apply for the waste pass. They can do this online through the website of the municipality (only Dutch). If you apply for a new pass you have to pay €15,80. If you change address, leave the pass behind for the new residents to use. Your new address should have its own pass. The pass also allows you to get rid of bigger amounts of houshold waste at the two rubbish stations (milieuparken) around Groningen. The rubbish points are Woldjerspoor and Vinkhuizen Zuid.
Costs of waste disposal vary depending on what it is and how much you are trying to get rid of. However, unless you are trying to get rid of large, bulky amounts of household waste you should not have to pay too much. For a full overview of the costs of disposal, download a waste-disposal calendar, which lists the prices of disposal at the bottom (only in Dutch).
If you hold your utility contracts yourself, at the end of the year NV Waterbedrijf Groningen will send you an invoice detailing your usage and the actual price of the water used. They will then either reimburse you if you paid too much or ask you to pay the difference if you used more than the amount payed for by your regular payments. The same type of invoice will be sent by your provider of gas & electricity. This bill is normally sent to the person who has been residing in the building in the house the longest, but should be divided between all residents. Depending on the bill, you will either need to pay the difference or the difference will be paid out to you if you used less than anticipated.
If you signed a contract that includes Service Costs, your landlord is obliged to provide a similar annual nota and calculation before the 30th of June of the next year. This invoice is called “eindafrekening” and should include an itemized list of the actual costs and the advance payments made by the tenant. Every item, like electricity, gas, furnishing, cleaning etc. must be clearly listed. Costs and payments are then balanced. Sometimes the tenant will need to pay extra but sometimes they will get money back. If the landlord and the tenant disagree about the amounts, they can present their case to the rental tribunal (Huurcommissie) or the district court (kantonrechter) at any time and the payments may be lowered if necessary.
Besides the final settlements for your utilities, every household gets billed with the municipal tax once a year. This bill comes in form of a letter from the BsGW and tends to be around 400 euros. In this part of our finances section you can find out how to apply for a tax cut and get out of this bill!