My landlord in Amsterdam does not return my deposit

My landlord in Amsterdam does not return my deposit Netherlands dutch law

Our Amsterdam rental law experts have extensive experience with return of deposit. In the Netherlands Dutch landlords often decline to return (part of) the deposit to expats. Sometimes for good reason. For example, because the tenant has rent arrears. Or because the (expat) tenant has (severely) damaged the property. But often there is no justification for the Dutch landlord to not (partly) return the deposit. Sometimes landlords seem to try to gain a non-justified compensation from the tenant. In this article I will explain when a landlord in The Netherlands can withhold (part of) the deposit.   

In this article I will discuss the following subjects:

  • What is a deposit?
  • What is the purpose of the deposit?
  • When can the landlord use the deposit?
  • When does the landlord have to return the deposit to the tenant?
  • Tips & tricks for recovering the deposit.

What is a deposit? And what is the purpose of a deposit?

If the parties enter into a rental agreement, they usually agree that the tenant must pay a deposit. The deposit is usually equal to one or more months’ rent.

A deposit serves as security for the landlord. This reduces the chance that the landlord will be left with damage. For example, because the tenant has gone with the wind without a word of warning, while he has a rent arrears. Or if he has left the house in very poor condition.

When can the landlord lay claim on the deposit?

Many tenants seem to think that a landlord cannot settle the deposit with back payments. However, this assumption is usually incorrect. The deposit serves as security for the landlord. This means that the landlord can use the deposit for various purposes. For example:

  • Does a tenant have a rent arrears at the end of the tenancy agreement? Then the lessor can set off the deposit against the deposit. 
  • Does the tenant owe fines to the landlord? For example in connection with late payments or unauthorised subletting. In that case, too, the landlord can set off the fines against the deposit.
  • Has the tenant caused damage or not cleaned the property at the end of the rental period? If so, the landlord can offset the damages against the deposit. 

When does the landlord have to refund the deposit to the tenant?

The law does not stipulate when the landlord has to refund the deposit to the tenant. The payback time is usaully determined in the rental agreement. Is this period not specified in the rental contract? Then the landlord is, technically, obliged to refund the deposit immediately. 

However, in practice the landlord will have (at least) a few weeks to repay the deposit. After all, he must have the opportunity to check whether he has a claim against the tenant. And if so, what the extent of this claim is. 

For example

If a tenant leaves the property in poor condition – by causing serious damages to the property – the landlord will often have to hire experts to make an estimate of the repair costs. This will usually take several weeks. In principle, a tenant may not expect the landlord to refund the deposit before the extent of the damage has been established.

Important! Landlords regularly wrongly charge a tenant for ‘repair costs’. Would you like to know more about this? Then read the following article: Andere artikel dat ik naar je heb opgestuurd.

Tips & tricks for recovering the deposit

Does your landlord refuse to refund the deposit? Then it is wise to act accordingly. You can take the following steps:

– Ask the landlord to specify the costs;

– Check if the specifications are correct. For example, are the listed costs included in the pre- and final inspection?

– Does the landlord not refund the deposit without good reason? Send a letter to your landlord mentioning that you will charge additional costs, such as legal interest.

– Does the landlord not refund the deposit? Then you can start legal proceedings.

Contact one of our rental law experts in Amsterdam

Is your landlord still not willing to pay back the deposit? Contact one of our rental law experts. Our Amsterdam lawyers have extensive experience with these kind of cases. They can provide you with advise or they can contact the landlord on your behalf. This often leads to the landlord paying (most of) the deposit back without a legal procedure. Is a landlord in Amsterdam still unwilling to cooperate? Then our lawyers can start a legal procedure against your former landlord on your behalf. 

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