Frequently Asked Questions

Common

What is the 'Huurcommissie' and how does a proceeding against my landlord work?

The 'Huurcommissie', or Rental Committee, is a government body that adjudicates disputes between tenants and landlords. The Rental Committee is specifically qualified for rental disputes and offers more options than the normal court. For example, the Rental Committee is the only one who can make a binding decision about your rent. Procedures at the Rental Committee are usually started by submitting a form with standard questions. After that, the parties have the opportunity to respond to each other in writing before a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, the parties defend their position in attendance of each other and the judicial board of the Rental Committee. A procedure with the Rental Committee usually takes about 8 months. If the landlord does not cooperate (fully) with the decision of the Rental Committee, the dispute must be submitted to a judge again. A court procedure usually takes about 6 months.

Can the landlord kick me out if I use the services of Square Rent?

The landlord cannot evict you because you are contesting your rent or claiming your rights in any other way. In order for a tenant to be evicted from a house, there must be serious wrongdoing such as structural nuisance or a considerable debt of overdue payments. However, you do have to be careful if you have a rental agreement for a definite period. In that case, the landlord is allowed not to offer a new contract once your current contract expires. Square Rent therefore always looks at your rental situation first and assesses any risks before taking action.

What is 'social rent' or the 'social sector'?

Every home belongs either to the social sector or to the free sector. The rent according to the points system for that home is decisive. If rent falls above the so-called 'liberalization limit', then the house belongs to the liberalized or free sector. If the rent falls below the liberalization limit, the house belongs to the social sector. That limit for 2020 is € 737.14. Only homes that fall within the social sector can make use of the Rental Commission.

What if my rental home falls in the free sector?

Because only rental homes that belong to the social sector can make use of the Rental Commission, it is important to know to which sector your home belongs to. In the first six months of the contract and six months after the conversion of a fixed-term contract to an indefinite period of time, the Rent Assessment Committee can assess the rent. If the rent set by the Rent Commission falls below the liberalization limit, then the home falls within the social sector. The price agreed in the rental agreement will then lapse. Rental homes that fall in the free sector are not bound by the points system, which means that there is no maximum price.

Do I have a rental agreement for an indefinite period?

If you have a rental agreement for a fixed period, the landlord cannot – under normal circumstances – end it prematurely. If the landlord intends to not offer you a new contract after the current contract ends, the landlord must inform you of this. The landlord must give notice of this intention at most three months before expiry of the contract, and at least one month before expiry of the contract.

To end a contract for an indefinite period the landlord needs a good reason. These reasons are established by law. It concerns the following cases; the tenant misbehaves or refuses to cooperate with a reasonable proposal from the landlord, the landlord wants to renovate the property on a large scale or give it a different use (catering, for example), the landlord needs the property for his own use or it has been agreed that the house is only rented to a special group to which the tenant no longer belongs (students, for example).

The landlord wants to end the rental agreement, is this possible?

In het geval dat je een huurovereenkomst voor bepaalde tijd hebt kan de verhuurder deze niet tussentijds beëindigen. Als de verhuurde de huur met jou wil laten aflopen na verloop van de  afgesproken termijn, dan moet de verhuurder jou daarover informeren. Dit informeren hierover moet de verhuurder schriftelijk doen en maximaal drie maanden en minimaal één maand voor het aflopen van de termijn.

Voor het beëindigen van een huurovereenkomst voor onbepaalde tijd heeft de verhuurder een goede reden nodig. Deze redenen zijn wettelijk vastgesteld. Het betreffen de volgende gevallen; de huurder misdraagt zich of weigert meewerking aan een redelijk voorstel van de verhuurder, de verhuurder wil grootschalig gaan renoveren of een andere bestemming geven aan het pand (horeca bijv.), de verhuurder heeft het pand nodig voor eigen gebruik, er is afgesproken dat de woning enkel wordt verhuurd aan een speciale groep waartoe de huurder inmiddels niet meer behoort (studenten bijv.).

Can I end the contract during the term of my fixed-period?

Most rental agreements are concluded for a term of six months, one year or two years. These short term contracts can all be ended prematurely by the tenant. This is only different for fixed-period rental agreements with a particularly long term, with the exact length of the term depending on the type of home that is rented. In the case of independent housing, the tenant cannot cancel prematurely if the agreed term is longer than 2 years. The same applies to non-self-contained apartments if the term is longer than 5 years. The rent must be ended by 'registered letter' (aangetekende brief) and at least one payment period (usually one month) before the desired end date.

The landlord wants access to my home, do I have to cooperate?

There are only two cases in which you as a tenant are obliged to grant the landlord access to your home. The first case concerns the situation in which the landlord wants to sell or re-let the house after your rental period. You are then obliged to cooperate with any viewings of your home. Of course, these viewings must be scheduled in consultation with you and you may be present at the viewings. The second case in which you have to open up your home to others, is when the landlord wants to carry out maintenance or repair. This work must concern 'urgent work'. This means the work can no longer wait, because delay would lead to (potential) damage or higher costs for the landlord. The tenant may pay a reduced rental price as compensation for the inconvenience.

Bare rent

Can my landlord increase the rent?

Whether the landlord may increase the rent depends on a number of factors. If your rental property falls into the social sector the landlord may increase the rent annually by the legally allowed percentage. The law makes this possible for homes in the social sector, even without this being explicitly agreed upon in the rental contract. The rent may not exceed the maximum price according to the points system. The landlord must also announce the increase in writing 2 months in advance. If your rental property is in the free sector, this is different. In that case, the landlord may in principle not increase the rent annually if this has not been agreed upon.

Defects

Which defects entitle the tenant to a rent reduction?

In principle, all defects that damage the safety or enjoyment of the home (to a significant extent) entitle you to a rent reduction. Most such possible defects are listed in the so-called 'defect book'. This is a list of defects drawn up by the Rental Committee that entitle you to a rent reduction. The defects stated therein all pertain to the maintenance of the property, but other circumstances that are not linked to the property may also result in a defect. Think of (serious) noise or odor nuisance from outside.

What to do when the defects need to be fixed urgently and the landlord doesn't cooperate?

Normally you should give the landlord six weeks to repair defects. Sometimes though, six weeks is way too long and a deficiency needs immediate repairing. Take for example a serious leak. In such cases, the tenant must first (as always) notify the landlord of the defect as soon as possible and urgently request rectification. If the landlord does not take action quickly enough, the tenant may repair the defect himself or have it repaired and deduct the costs from the rent.

Clogging of toilet, sink or shower?

A blockage of the toilet, sink or shower is in principle the responsibility of the tenant(s). The landlord is only responsible if the underlying problem to the clogging is a technical defect. A technical defect could, for example, be a drain pipe that is unusually narrow, which is the cause of the ease with which blockages occur. Of course this still has to be proven, and in most cases that won't be easy. If you're dealing with regular blockages and you suspect that the cause is a technical defect; gather evidence. For example, make a video of each blockage and inform your landlord per writing of the recurring problem each time it occurs.

Service costs

What about water board tax, sewerage tax and waste tax?

It differs per municipality whether these 'municipal taxes' are borne by the tenant or landlord. In some municipalities, a distinction is also made between a user part and an owner part. In that case, the user's share will be borne by the actual user, i.e. the tenant, and the owner's share will be borne by the owner of the property; the landlord. The waste tax is usually for the user (tenant). The original invoice usually shows whether the bill should be borne by the tenant or landlord. So if you have any doubts, ask your landlord for the original invoice or ask the relevant authority (municipality) directly.

What about VvE costs (Vereniging van Eigenaren - owners association)?

VvE costs may not be directly and fully charged to the tenant. Some specific parts of the VvE contribution can under certain circumstances be passed on to the tenant. This concerns cost items that normally could also be passed on by the landlord onto the tenant as service costs. For example, the cleaning or lighting of communal areas. The landlord must be able to prove that this cost item is part of the monthly VvE contribution (paid by the landlord). This is only possible by means of a specification of the monthly VvE costs by the Association of Owners.

All-in price

Why would you want to split the all-in price?

If the Rent Committee splits the all-in price, the total rent (the sum of bare rent and service costs) is always reduced by 20%. This rental price is binding and final. The Tenancy Committee will split the rent if the landlord does not do this himself after being requested to do so by the tenant. And if the landlord does split the rent into basic rent and service costs, the tenant can check whether his rent is too high (according to the points system) and possibly do something about it via the Rent Commission.

Real estate agency costs

I agreed to pay the (real estate) agency fee at the time, what can I do now?

Real estate agents often include their fee in the tenancy agreement or sometimes they draw up a separate contract for it. For example, they let the new tenant sign for agreement with the agency costs. This does not detract from the unlawfulness of the agency costs. You can still reclaim the fee (up to five years later).

I did pay something to the real estate agent, but it wasn't called an agency fee

The real estate agent who works for the landlord may not charge any costs to the tenant. The name of the costs does not matter. Because the term `agency fee' (bemiddelingskosten) has gained a negative reputation, many real estate agents use different names for the fees they charge new tenants. For example, there is often talk of key money (sleutelgeld), contract costs or simply administration costs. But in almost all cases it is not allowed to charge any costs to the tenant.

Deposit

My landlord refuses to refund the deposit due to damage

If your landlord claims that you have caused damage to the house, this doesn't automatically give him the right to keep your deposit, even if there is real damage. First of all the landlord has to prove that the damage occurred during your rental period. The most common way to be able to do this is by drawing up a description of the condition of the house at the start of the rental period, a so-called 'admission status'. By comparing the condition of the house at the beginning of your term to the condition of the house at the end of your term, it can be deduced which damage has occurred during your rental period. Even if the damage is real and occurred during your rental period, the landlord must also offer the tenant the opportunity to repair the damage himself. And lastly, the landlord may never withhold more money than the amount of (repair of) the damage.

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