Rent Benefit for International Students in the Netherlands

Rent Benefit for International Students in the Netherlands

What is rent benefit/housing allowance/huurtoeslag?

Rent Benefit is a monthly allowance provided by the Dutch government to subsidise low-income earners or students; luckily, international students are also included!

The allowance year is from 1st January to 1st January of the following year. The allowance can also be applied for the previous year until 1st September of the next year. For example, in 2021, you can apply for the subsidies for 2021 until 1st September 2022.

How will I receive the payment?

Once the 'Belastingdienst' (Dutch tax administration) has approved your eligibility for rent allowance, you will then receive benefit from the Dutch Tax Authorities which will be transferred to your Dutch bank account. The rent allowances are paid in advance, mostly on the 20th of the month for the following month. Please note that your rent benefit will not be deducted from your rent. You still need to pay the full amount of rent to your landlord as your contract agrees.

In order to apply for rent benefit, you (and your possible benefit partner) must meet the following conditions:

  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • You have a signed rental contract with your landlord and are registered at the same address with 'Gemeente' (Dutch municipality) or 'Belastingdienst' (Dutch tax administration)
  • You live in a student housing complex* or self-sufficient, independent accommodation** with your own bedroom, own bathroom and own kitchen, meaning no house share
  • Your rent, income and capital (savings, shares, investments) do not exceed certain limits (which changes every year, for details, please see below)
  • You have the nationality of an EU country, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. For non-EU nationality, a valid residence permit or work permit in the Netherlands is needed.
  • You have a valid BSN number (citizens services number from Dutch government)
  • You have a valid Dutch bank account
  • You must live in the Netherlands

*Students living in student housing complexes are eligible for the housing allowance if the building was indicated as suitable for housing allowance before July 1st, 1997

**House boot and Temporary stay (less than six months on contract) do not qualify as independent housing.

Yearly Income Restrictions in 2021

Younger than retirement age (67 years)

Yearly Income Restriction

Older than retirement age (67 years)


Yearly Income Restriction

single-person household

€ 23.725

single-person household

€ 23.650


Multi-person household

€ 32.200

Multi-person household


€ 62.075


These are the limits for the 'appropriate allocation' of social housing rented out by housing associations. If your income is lower, you will be given priority for the cheaper homes of housing associations. However, to receive housing benefits, your income may also be slightly higher. Moreover, you do not have to rent a housing association for this. It may also be a home of a private landlord or investor.

Note: From 1st January 2020, there are no more set income limits. The amount of rental allowance would depend on your rent, age, and the composition of your household.

Since 2020, you can also receive housing benefits if your income exceeds the limits for appropriate allocation. You will not get as much as tenants with a lower income, but it can still be a hefty amount. If your income rises, the allowance will gradually decrease. At which income you will no longer receive housing benefit at all, depends on your rent and the number of people in your household. It also matters whether you have already reached the state pension age or not. In practice, with an income of roughly €31,000 (singles) and €41,000 (families), the housing allowance is sometimes possible. Important: you must find out for yourself whether you are entitled to an allowance and you must apply for the allowance yourself.

The best way to find out whether you are entitled to an allowance is the calculation tool on the website of the Tax and Customs Administration. If it turns out that your estimated income entitles you to an allowance, you can log in with your DigiD and apply for an allowance. Do you find it difficult to estimate your income and do you not want to run the risk of receiving an allowance that you have to repay later? Then you can wait until you are sure of your income in 2021. Or you may estimate your income to be higher than you actually expect. You will then receive less allowance, but later - as soon as your final income is known - you will still receive a supplementary payment.

Capital Restrictions:
Your savings, investments and private assets


Max amount for 2020

Max amount for 2021

No fiscal partner

€ 30.846

€ 31.340

With fiscal partner

€ 61.692

€ 62.680

Rent Restriction



Rent per month*

18 - 22

no kids

Min € 228,62

Max € 442,46

18 - 22

with kids


Max € 752,33




Max € 752,33

*Rent per month = basic rent + service costs

The age limit is applicable to the entire household, which means that if one of the residents is older than 23, then the entire household is qualified as '23+'. (2021)

A trial calculation for rent benefit

Here is the website for trial calculation of your rent benefit, however it is only available in Dutch. But don’t worry! We will guild you step by step on how to do it yourself. It gives you an idea of your rent allowance per month. Please note that the result may differ based on your exact amount of assets and rent.

You can click ‘Ja’ for yes and ‘Nee’ for no.

1: Choose the valid year of your rent allowance

2: Choose ‘Huurtoeslag’

3: Fill in your date of birth

4: Select the country you live in, which must be the Netherlands

5: Do you have fiscal partner*?
*fiscal partner is usually your spouse or registered partner, or someone who is registered at your address (unless it's a tenant), therefore the income of your tax partner is also included for the calculation

6: Fill in the yearly assessment income of your rent benefit valid year

7: Do you live in rooms, in a group home for the elderly or in a residential building for assisted living?

8: Has the house been adapted because someone in the house is disabled?

9: How many housemates do you have?
If you’re living alone, you fill in 0. If you live with another person in the accommodation, you fill in 1.

10: How much basic rent do you pay for the house per month? (which is excluding service or supplier costs) one or two additional questions will show up (step 11 and 12). If not, skip to Step 13.

11: How much service costs do you pay per month?

The Dutch Authorities only include the service costs for:

  • cleaning costs for common areas
  • energy costs for common areas
  • costs for the services of a caretaker, flat watch or neighbourhood concierge
  • costs for service and recreation areas

Check your rental agreement and add up those costs. For every service cost the maximum to fill in is €12 euro, even if you pay more. So, in total, you can maximum fill in €48.

Step 12: Is your capital greater than €31.340 on the 1st of January 2021?

Your savings, investments and private assets

Step 13: Click on ‘Bereken’, meaning calculate. Step 12: The results will either show:

- ‘U krijgt geen huurtoeslag’ Meaning: You are not eligible for rent allowance

- ‘Uw huurtoeslag is €.... per maand.' Meaning: Your rent allowance is €... per month.

You can calculate it yourself here; or find more information regarding rental allowance here;

Do you have any specific questions?

You can call the Belastingtelefoon (Tax phone) for free 0800-0543.

They are more than happy to help you with your tax-related questions.