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Why a tenant interview (hospiteren)?

In our residential buildings, you can decide for yourself who will be your new housemate - which is actually quite nice...

For many of the rooms that are owned by Stadswonen Rotterdam, the existing housemates have a strong say in who will be the new tenant. They determine who they would like to choose in a process called hospiteren (tenant interviews). But what does this process involve exactly? As an existing resident, why would you use hospiteren to decide who gets the room? And, as a prospective tenant, why would you take part?

What is hospiteren (tenants 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.

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

If a room is allocated via hospiteren, the existing residents have a say in who will be their new housemate. 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!

As an existing resident, why would you opt for hospiteren?

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.

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.

How do you find a suitable new housemate?

At Stadswonen Rotterdam, we offer you the option of writing your own room advert when one of the rooms on your floor or in your unit becomes available. Make sure the text of your advert is in line with the kind of housemate you’re looking for. Also offer some information on the existing group and what your preferences are. This way it becomes easier for prospective candidates to determine whether your set-up is something for them too. Would you prefer a male or female tenant, are you looking for someone in the same degree programme as you, or someone with the same hobbies? Be sure to specify this in the advert. The more information you provide, the more focused responses you will get from potential candidates.

From the multiple responses to your advert, select those that best suit your desired profile and invite these candidates over for an introductory chat. To talk with the candidates, you can organise an introductory evening attended by multiple candidates simultaneously, or you can invite them individually for one-on-one talks.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try and find out if you will hit it off. Do you have the same perspective on matters that are specifically important to you? Do you think the same about cleaning and sleeping hours, for example? And if both sides have a good feeling about things, you’ve basically found your new housemate!

Why would you take part in hospiteren?

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 tenant interviews 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.

Tips 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.