Dutch Rental Law
The following information is a general overview of the Dutch rental law. This is merely to give you an indication and answer basic questions.
If you have specific questions about your contract or about certain conducts, please feel free to contact the Housing Office.
- If they are easy questions the Housing Office will be able to help you.
- If there are more complicated circumstances they will refer you to the Rechtswinkel Tilburg – a non-profit organization helping “the little man” in legal disputes. If you wish to contact them, take a look at their website: www.rechtswinkeltilburg.nl
In the Netherlands, most rental contracts are concluded on paper. However, a verbal contract is also valid. We do recommend that you sign a paper contract, since verbal agreements are difficult to prove.
Only sign contracts you can actually read! If your landlord does not have an English contract available please contact the Housing Office. They are able to provide you with a standardized contract in English.
What should be in my contract?
There are certain elements which should always be included in your contract. Here is an overview of the most important things:
- Your landlord and your name and signature.
- The address and the description of the rented area.
- A monthly rent divided up in basic rent and service costs/utilities or an all-in price.
- Method of payment.
- Amount and payback period for the deposit.
- The start and possibly the end date of the rental period.
- Specific house rules (f.e. smoking, pets, guests, third party lease).
- The landlord’s duties for maintenance, repairs etc.
- Cleaning of the common areas and facilities.
- The date on which the rent will be increased each year.
- Privacy of the rooms.
- Termination period of the rent (usually 1 month).
- List of inventory (if your rooms is carpeted or furnished).
What can be included in your rent?
Most likely your rent will be separated into three components.
- Basic rent: the mere costs of your accommodation (in Dutch: Kale Huur)
- GLW/GWE: This means gas, water, and light/electricity. These are the costs for your utilities. Sometimes your WiFi is also included in this. Be sure to check this with your new landlord.
- Service costs: the costs which you pay your landlord in order for him/her to maintain the house and common areas.
When can a landlord increase my rent?
You landlord can increase your rent once during the first year of your contract. Thereafter they can only up it every 12 months. The rent can increased only with a certain percentage which is determined by the government. The landlord has to notify you of the new rental price at least two months in advance. Do you think your landlord has increased your rent too soon/too often or by too much? Notify him/her with an objection letter before the new rental price is enforced.
When can your landlord terminate the contract?
Your landlord cannot abruptly end your lease without a valid reason. What these reasons are really depends on your contract and the facts and circumstances of the individual situation
In all types of contracts your landlord has to prove special circumstances in order to end your lease. This could be that you fail to pay your rent, if you always pay late or if they urgently need your living space for themselves. Often landlords want to terminate your contract when they sell the house you live in, this is illegal. If they wish to end your lease they need to inform you between 3 and 6 months in advance. You do not have to agree with the termination if you feel like the reason is invalid. If you wish to challenge the termination you have to let them know in writing within 6 weeks in receiving the notice. If this is the case, it is best to do this in collaboration with the Rechtswinkel Tilburg.
When can you end your contract?
Most of you will have a temporary contract with a specific end date. Your landlord cannot end your contract during the duration of your contract without a valid reason. However, you are able to end you contract – even if there is a specific end date. Your termination period is always one payment term if you pay your lease per month. This is the legal termination period, even if your contract states otherwise.
If you wish to end your contract, you have to give notice in writing to your landlord.
Keep in mind that your termination period starts the first day of the month after you have given notice. Example: if you send your notice on April 25th, your termination period starts on May 1st and your lease ends June 1st.
What is a deposit?
When concluding the contract, the landlord can ask you for a deposit. This is quite normal and can be a maximum of three months’ rent. The deposit is an insurance for the landlord in case damage is done to the rented accommodation. If in the end you are entitled to (part of) your deposit, your landlord has to repay you within one month of the end of your contract.
- Always get a receipt for your deposit
- Inspect the accommodation together with your landlord before you move in. This way you can immediately see if there are already damages to the house and you won’t be charged for them afterwards.
- Take dated pictures of your rented area so you have proof of what your room looked like when you moved in.
- Notify your landlord as soon as you find damages in the rented area.
Sometimes you are eligible for Housing Allowance. However there are many requirements which you need to fulfil in order to receive any help from the Dutch government.
- Generally you need to be older than 18, live in an independent space (such as a studio/apartment) which is a certified “housing allowance house” and your income cannot be very high.
- In order to check if you are eligible, check out the website of the Dutch government.
- If you need help requesting the Housing Allowance since the website is in Dutch, please contact the Housing Office.
Damage and other Issues
Something in your house is broken – what do you do?
The tenant is responsible for the smaller things. This means, for example, changing lightbulbs, hinges, maintenance of the backyard or painting the walls inside. Larger damages or those which carry significant costs, are for the landlord to repair. The precise division is determined in Dutch rental law. If you are unsure if it is your responsibility to repair something, ask your landlord or the Housing Office.
If you notice any substantial damage to the house, always immediately inform your landlord in writing. Ask him/her to repair it within a reasonable amount of time.
Are you having trouble?
- Are you having trouble with your landlord? Do you think you are being treated unfairly or do you think you have signed a contract which is not in line with the Dutch law? Contact the Housing Office. They can help you with the small things and can even refer you to the right authorities if needed.
The information on this website is merely a general guide to Dutch rental law. The application and impact of the law can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Because of the ever changing nature of the law, and the inherent risks of online communication there may be delays omissions or inaccuracies in the information provided in this site. Therefore the information is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal advice and services. The information is not a substitute for getting professional legal advice.