Subletting platform for exchange students

Platform aims to help exchange students find a room in Wageningen.
Housing shortages prompted an emergency solution in 2022 and 2023: sharing rooms. Photo Guy Ackermans

Exchange students in Wageningen had trouble finding a room in recent years. WUR’s Exchange Team and the ESN International Student Association want to help them in their search by developing a subletting platform where WUR students who are going abroad can offer their room for sub-lease to incoming international exchange students.

WUR Exchange Team coordinator Eric de Munck explains: ‘We held a survey among the three hundred WUR students who will go on exchange in the first semester in January. The survey showed that five out of six outgoing exchange students sub-rented their room, but only one in six sublets to an incoming exchange student.’ As a result, only fifty rooms became available for sub-tenants, while there are 180 incoming exchange students, De Munck says. Emergency interventions such as room sharing had to be deployed last summer. ‘And that, while three-quarters of the students said they were willing to sublet their room to an incoming exchange student’, according to De Munck.


New students are given urgency status if they live over 130 kilometres away from Wageningen. However, students pursuing a BSc or MSc in Wageningen are placed ahead of exchange students. As a result, the latter barely benefit from their urgency status. It was assumed that they would find their way to a room since the number of outgoing exchange students or interns is much higher than the number of incoming exchange students.

‘Reality paints a different picture’, De Munck says. ‘This may be a timing issue or the fact that the room has been promised to a sibling of one of the housemates. And then there are housemates who prefer a Dutch-speaking sub-tenant.’ Some students who sublet their room want to meet the prospective sub-tenant first. ‘That is a trust issue’, De Munck says. ‘A subletting platform initiated by the Exchange Team can help solve the trust issue.’


On the platform, which is being developed in close collaboration with the international student association ESN Wageningen, incoming students will be able to introduce themselves. ‘They can present themselves and provide details such as for what period they seek a room or that they enjoy cooking.’ The platform must provide a controlled environment, which means only students wanting to come to Wageningen as exchange students or those who have applied for an exchange or internship abroad will be given access. The outgoing students who sublet their room through the platform will be given a lease guarantee by WUR. ‘If the subletter fails to show up or decides to leave early, you still receive compensation for the rent.’

De Munck expects the platform to launch in two months. Meanwhile, the Exchange Team calls in WUR students who intend to go on an exchange next year. ‘In our communications with the students, we explain that the exchange hinges on the principle of mutuality, which means that incoming students need a roof over their heads,’ De Munck states.

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