Multiple occupancy rentals: what are the rules?

    There is a considerable demand for housing in large cities, especially for students, so lessors often allow multiple occupants to share rental housing. Whether this is allowed or not depends on the municipality. What do you need to consider as a lessor? In this article, we explain the house sharing policy in several major cities.


    Room rentals

    House sharing means that several households rent one single house. Since a household consists of at most two adults, lessors need to be particularly careful when letting to more than two persons rent the house.

    Every municipality has its own housing regulations that include a policy on room rentals. A conversion permit is often needed to convert an independent living space (such as a terraced house) into several shared accommodations (rooms without their own front door or kitchen/sanitary facilities). Conversion without the required permit can result in a hefty fine!


    But which are the rules in each municipality?


    House sharing Amsterdam: dependent on the number of rooms

    The Municipality of Amsterdam bases the conditions for conversion into multiple occupancy housing on the number of persons that will be living there. For example, three separate rental accommodations require a common area of at least 11 m2 with a width of at least three metres. With four separate rental accommodations, noise transmission is tested. With five or more occupants, the lessor must be a professional institution.  

    To prevent nuisance problems and maintain a housing supply, Amsterdam will be introducing additional conditions on 1 January 2020. The current plan is to:

    Establish a maximum number of permits per neighbourhood and building.
    Introduce a ban on more than one occupant per room.
    Impose the requirement of an individual rental contract, to protect renters.
    Keep a close eye on the FRIS website and LinkedIn page to stay up to date on the latest developments in Amsterdam!

    House sharing Utrecht: focus on the surroundings

    In Utrecht, a conversion permit is required for room rentals, except in the case of a commune, room rental in a private home, and tourist accommodations. A conversion permit to deviate from the zoning plan is required in all cases. Not only the physical quality requirements (surface area, soundproofing, etc.) matter, but also the overall quality of life, i.e. to what extent the neighbourhood is impacted by the house sharing. This pertains to such things as the streetscape, the possibility of complaints and the necessary expansion of the number of car and bicycle parking spaces.

    House sharing Rotterdam: students only

    The home sharing policy of the Municipality of Rotterdam focuses on the housing shortage among students. Here, a permit is only granted for renting rooms to students. No permit is required for occupancy by up to three students. If the lessor also lives in the home, a permit is required for renting to three or more students. Every student must have at least 18 m2 of space at their disposal.  The municipality also considers how the room rental impacts the living environment and whether the rental agreement contains agreements on volunteer work for students for the benefit of the neighbourhood.

    Temporary freeze: Lelystad, Almere and Leiden

    Unfortunately, shared housing has resulted in problems in some cities, such as noise nuisance and too many bicycles on the sidewalk.  This is why Lelystad, Almere and Leiden currently have a freeze on municipal permits for room rentals and house sharing. The new policy is intended to ensure a better balance in the creation of housing and to maintain the quality of life in the area.


    Room rentals affect the residential valuation system score and, consequently, the rent! How exactly? This will be explained in a follow-up article on the residential valuation system.