Deposit and/or additional costs in a Dutch rental agreement

Mike
Deposit and/or additional costs in a Dutch a rental agreement law attorney lawyer Amsterdam Netherlands dutch law

When can a Dutch landlord keep the deposit and/or charge additional costs to his tenant at the end of a rental agreement f.i. in Amsterdam? At the end of the rental agreement the property has to be ‘returned’ by the tenant to the landlord in The Netherlands. The property has to be in the same state as the property was at the start of the rental period. The property needs to be in a good condition, cleaned and emptied of the possessions of the tenant. From our experience as attorneys in Amsterdam we know that landlords often overcharge their tenants. This leads to landlords not paying back the deposit or even to them claiming additional payments. Are Dutch landlords in Amsterdam allowed to do this? What costs can the landlord charge to their expat tenants? And what procedures should they follow? In this article I will answer the aforementioned questions.

In this article the following subjects will be explained:

  • In what state should the tenant return the property to the landlord?
  • When can a landlord charge costs to a tenant?
  • What procedure does the landlord have to follow if he wants to charge additional costs to his tenant?
  • Which costs should be covered by the tenant and which costs should be covered by the landlord?

In what state should the tenant return the rental property to the Dutch landlord?

The Dutch Civil Code states that a rental property should be ‘returned’ to the landlord in the same state as it was at the start of the rental period. This means that:

  • Damages have to be repaired;
  • The apartment needs to be cleaned (bezemschoon);
  • The tenant’s inventory has to be removed;
  • Alterations to the apartment, that have been made without consent of the landlord, need to be reversed. 

What qualifies as the same state?

The ‘same state’ should not be taken too literal. The time that the tenant has spent in the property has to be taken into account. The Dutch law specifically mentions “that which has been nullified or damaged by age” does not have to be repaired by the tenant. This means that repairs of regular wear and tear do not have to be compensated by the tenant.

For example: if a landlord has repainted the property in Amsterdam shortly before a tenant moved in, the tenant does not have to repaint the property before he moves out. 

When can a Dutch landlord charge repair costs to his tenants?

If a landlord in The Netherlands wants to recover damages from his expat tenant, he must observe strict formalities. The condition of the property must be mapped several times. It is important that the landlord, in the presence of the tenant, extensively registers the condition of the property. 

Normally, the following check-ups should take place:

  • A check at the start of the tenancy agreement;
  • A pre-check (a few weeks before the end of the tenancy agreement)
  • A final check (at the end date of the rental agreement)

Have one or multiple of these checks not taken place? Then it becomes considerably more difficult for a landlord according to Dutch law to recover costs (in full) from the tenant.

Which costs should be covered by the tenant and which costs should be covered by the landlord?

As mentioned before, the rental property needs to be ‘returned’ after the termination of the rental contract in the same state as the property was at the start of the rental period. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Wear and tear

If a rental property, and the furniture, is used then over time some damage will occur. A tenant does not have to pay the repair costs for damages which have been caused by regular usage of the property. 

Permitted changes and additions

Has a expat tenant made any alterations to the property? Then the tenant usually has to undo these alterations at the end of the tenancy agreement. Has the landlord granted permission to make these alterations to the property? Then the tenant (usually) does not have to undo these changes.

Defects

During the rental period the landlord usually has to fix defects, like:

  • Leakages &
  • Mold

Are these defects/issues present at the end of the rental period? Then the landlord will usually have to fix these issues himself. However, there are several exceptions to this rule according to Dutch law:

  • The defects/issues have been caused by the tenant;
  • The tenant did not report this defects/issues in time. A tenant is obliged to report defects/issues as quickly as possible to their landlord.

Conclusion repair- and/or cleaning costs

If a landlord confronts you with repair- and/or cleaning costs it is important to be critical of his claims. Often times landlords overcharge their tenants. Therefore it is important to request your landlord to substantiate his claims. 

Contact one of our lawyers in Amsterdam about deposit and/or additional costs in a Dutch a rental agreement

Our rental law lawyers from WS Advocaten in Amsterdam have lot of experience in these kind of cases. They can aid you with advise or by providing legal aid in a Dutch court procedure. Are you confronted with additional charges from your landlord? Contact one of our lawyers in Amsterdam.

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