I have been searching for apartments in Rotterdam and I recently decided for one. I contacted the real estate agency and we agreed on the rental conditions, but they are asking me 350€ + VAT for Contract Costs. They said that the owner is already paying them a fee, but that I always have to pay them this.
I know that this is illegal, but I also don't want to lose this house.
What can I do to avoid paying this (illegal) costs without taking the risk of letting losing the opportunity to get this house?
Update: I rented a house through an agency. At first, I saw the house and agreed with the price. Before they sent me the contract, I signed a document saying that I was committed to accept the house and pay one month in advance, plus one month for deposit, plus the fee for them. I signed that document because I really wanted the house.
Then, they sent me the contract. But at that point they are already committed with the owner that they were representing. That means they know the owner has agreed to rent the house to me and pay the agency the fee.
I think this is the key point. The agency doesn't want to lose the opportunity to rent the house. Therefore, you can press them. So I called them saying that a legal adviser told me that the fee is illegal. He argued otherwise and this discussion lasted for almost 10 minutes. At the end, he stand up to his position. So I asked for him to speak with his manager to not charge me the fee, and then give me a call. Next day he sent me an email saying that they would not charge me the fee, despite the document I signed said otherwise.