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Tenant interviews

Why use tenant interviews (hospiteren) to find a new housemate?

Of course, selecting a new housemate by tenant interviews takes up some time. The plus side is that you have a say in who will be your new housemate. That’s why, as Stadswonen Rotterdam, we recommend choosing this option. That way you have a good chance of living together with a group of likeminded people. If you decide to use tenant interviews, you will set up the profile of your desired room mate. From all responses to the advert, you will be shared the 15 people who have longest registration period with Stadswonen.

What’s your view on cleaning the shared spaces, for example? Do your lifestyles match? If you’re an evening person and like to go out, then you’ll be less likely to see eye to eye with a devoted student who gets up at the break of day to study, and would even prefer to continue studying in his or her spare time. So give some careful thought to whom you would like to live with - after all, you will usually be sharing a number of communal spaces like the bathroom and kitchen.

What is hospiteren (tenant interviews)?

If you respond to a room that will soon become available, satisfy the application requirements and your registration term is long enough to make you an eligible candidate, the building’s existing residents may invite you over so they can get to know you. This procedure is commonly known as hospiteren (tenant interviews).

Hospiteren is a kind of introductory interview, in which you meet the current residents to see if you hit it off and to help them decide whether they would like you as their new housemate. The procedure presents benefits for both parties. The current residents get an idea of what kind of person you are, but you also get an idea of what your potential housemates are like, as well as of the room and of the surrounding area.

In other words: be sure to check whether you really hit it off with the current residents - after all, you will be living together for quite some time, and in many cases you also share facilities like a bathroom, toilet and kitchen with your housemates. So it is definitely important for both sides to have a good feeling about your moving in.

Why would you take part in hospiteren (tenant interviews)?

If you’re looking for a room in Rotterdam, you can choose between rooms that are allocated by Stadswonen Rotterdam and rooms where a candidate is selected by a tenant interview by the existing residents (hospiteren).

While it might not be your preferred line of action, finding a room through the hospiteren process has its advantages. It gives both you and the existing residents a good idea of what to expect, and you can make an informed decision that takes into account whether you fit in the group and would actually like to live there. And living with a number of other housemates also provides you with opportunities to make new friends - in what may well be an entirely new city for you. In such cases it’s nice to know you have the same interests and hold the same views on specific matters. And, as a candidate, you have some say in the matter too. If, after consideration, you don’t feel you’ve hit it off with the existing residents or the room is not in line with your wishes, you’re free to tell us that you won’t be accepting the room. This won’t have any consequences for the registration term you have built up so far.

So it’s best to give careful thought to whether you and the other residents really hit it off, and whether you could live together. After all, you’ll often be sharing facilities like the bathroom and the kitchen and you’re bound to run into one another quite often. Doing your utmost to get selected is one thing, but it would be quite a shame if the room or your housemates aren’t really in line with what you are looking for. Be honest to yourself, and critical - both with regard to the room and the other residents.

What kind of tips are there for hospiteren (tenant interviews)?

You can find all sorts of tips about hospiteren online. We’ve listed the key pointers for you below. And don’t forget that you have to feel comfortable about moving in too!

  1. Be sure to give a realistic impression of what you’re like on Facebook and other social media: residents often first check out the candidates via their online profiles.
  2. It may sound like a cliché, but be yourself. After all, you can’t keep up an act forever once you move in.
  3. Be prepared: determine in advance what kind of answers you could give to certain standard questions, and also prepare yourself for fielding a few stranger ones - questions that you would never see coming.
  4. Remain critical and ask questions yourself: a conversation is better than a monologue and you need to feel good about the other residents too.
  5. Arrive on time: not too early and not too late.
  6. Be positive, enthusiastic and adopt an active stance.
  7. Try to make a good first impression - after all, you only get one chance for that.
  8. Make eye contact: this shows that you’re confident, involved and interested.
  9. Leave your parents at home. You’ll be living on your own, so they’ll have to step back for the moment.
  10. Don’t beg for a room. The residents are looking for someone that fits in - they won’t be choosing you because you’re desperate.

Good luck, and don’t give up! Eventually, you’ll find a room that suits you.

Why has Stadswonen Rotterdam decided to allocate units via tenant interviews (hospiteren)?

If a room is allocated via hospiteren (tenant interviews), the existing residents have a say in who will be their new housemate. They will be supplied with the 15 respondees with the longest registration period with Stadswonen Rotterdam. Since the current residents will be choosing the new housemate themselves (albeit from a list of eligible candidates, of course), there is greater chance of a good match, and far less risk of issues escalating, nuisance and other unpleasant situations. After all, it’s a lot nicer to live together with likeminded people. This opportunity - to choose your own ‘neighbours’ - is unique among housing associations in Rotterdam. So don’t hesitate to take advantage of it!

How do tenant interviews work with Stadswonen Rotterdam?

When a Stadswonen Rotterdam room is vacated and becomes available to a new tenant, many of our properties allow the remaining tenants to choose who moves in with them. They do this by interviewing the prospective new tenants.

For remaining tenants: 
When a room in your unit becomes available to a new tenant, you’ll get an email from us inviting you to conduct tenant interviews, if you wish to do so. We’ll ask you to provide us with a profile of your ideal candidate to use on the advertisement. After the room has been advertised for a week, we’ll send you a list of the fifteen applicants with the longest waiting time. You then need to select a few of these to get to know a bit better and plan a schedule for meeting them. You aren’t allowed to add your own people to this list. But if you do have someone in mind, you should tell them to apply for the room via the Stadswonen Portal. If they are among the fifteen applicants with the longest waiting times, then there’s a chance they could be the one to move in. NOTE: even if you do have someone in mind, you should always be sure interview several candidates. You might just find you prefer somebody else. We’ve often seen this happen!

For room seekers: 
Only apply for rooms where both the room and the other people already living in the building appeal to you. This avoids disappointment on both sides when it comes to the interview. When you are invited to be interviewed, take a good look at the room, the building and get to know the existing tenants. It is important that people on both sides feel a good connection, as you’ll be sharing facilities such as washrooms, toilets and kitchens. 

How do I find a suitable housemate?

When a room in your unit becomes available, if you want, you can write your own advertisement. To help applicants work out whether they might be a good fit, make sure it describes the type of person you hope to get and tells them about you. Think about things such as whether you have a gender preference. Or would like someone who’s studying the same subject, or with the same hobbies. The more information you share, the better chance you have of getting the applicants you really want.

More tips: 
1. From the applications you receive, select the ones which most closely match the requirements you’ve stated and invite them for an interview. This can be done via an interview evening together with a number of your co-tenants, or just as a one-on-one chat.

2. Ask questions to see whether there is a ‘click’ between you. Do you have the same opinions about important matters? Do you have similar attitudes to things such as cleaning and lifestyle? These kind of conversations can reveal whether that ‘click’ is there. If it is, you’ve got yourself a new housemate!