When can a landlord end (terminate or rescind) my rental contract?

Mike
When can a landlord end (terminate or rescind) my rental contract Dutch lawyer Amsterdam

Rental Agreement lawyers in Amsterdam, frequently advise tenants who have been pressured to agree with the termination of their rental agreement in or outside Amsterdam. What expat tenants in The Netherlands often do not know is that they have a lot of protection from the Dutch Civil Code (DCC); especially of you have a rental contract for an indefinite period. If a landlord wants to end a rental agreement, he has a few options. He can terminate the lease or he can have the lease rescinded in a court of law.  The way in which the lease is ended is of great importance, because there are major differences between the various ways of ending the lease. For example, the lessor does not have to observe a legal notice period in the event of dissolution, whereas the lessor does have to observe a notice period in the event of termination. This article explains when a landlord can end a lease agreement and what the consequences are of the chosen option.

Termination of the tenancy agreement in Amsterdam

The landlord can always terminate the rental agreement. That doesn’t require you to have done anything wrong. The way in which and the conditions under which the landlord can terminate the lease depend on the duration of the lease. 

If you rent a Dutch property for a short fixed period (maximum 2 years for a self-contained property; maximum 5 years for a room), the landlord does not have to terminate the rental agreement. He only has to announce that the rental agreement will end on the agreed upon date. This announcement has to be made 3 to 1 month(s) before the expiration of the rental agreement. If the announcement is not made (in time) the rental agreement will be converted to a rental agreement for an indefinite period. 

If you rent the house in The Netherlands for a longer period or for an indefinite period, the landlord can only terminate the rent in specific cases which are mentioned in the DCC. For example, if he/she wants to live in the house himself/herself or if he/she wants to renovate the house, while it is not possible to continue the rent. 

Warning! If you agree with the termination of  the lease, the landlord does not need to have a specific reason to terminate the lease. In that case the rental agreement will end regardless of the reason of termination. So do not agree with the termination of your rental agreement without consulting a legal specialist first.

Rescinding the rental agreement

A landlord can choose to rescind a rental agreement if the tenant has breached the rental contract or the DCC. The rental agreement can only be rescinded in a Dutch court of law. A landlord cannot rescind the contract himself even if the contract gives him/her this opportunity. 

A landlord can (usually) only rescind the rental agreement if you have breached the rental agreement or the DCC. For example a landlord can rescind a rental agreement in the following situations:

  • The tenant has failed to pay rent. The total backpayments equal to three months rent;
  • A tenant causes severe nuisance;
  • The rental property has been sublet.

If a judge rescinds the tenancy agreement, the landlord can proceed to evict the property on short notice. This means that you can be evicted within a few weeks (sometimes as early as a few days) of the court ruling.

Speed procedure (kort geding): Permission to evict

The landlord can also request the court for permission to evict the rental property on short notice. If the judge grants permission to evict the property, the tenancy agreement does not officially end, but the landlord can still have the house evicted; often on short notice.

A judge in The Netherlands will not easily grant the permission to evict a property. The court must deem there to be a significant chance that a judge in a ‘regular’ court procedure will rescind the tenancy agreement. Another perquisite for this permission is that the landlord must have an urgent interest in evicting the property. 

Evacuation by the bailiff

If the tenancy agreement has been terminated, you must vacate the property within a period of time specified in the court decision. If you do not leave the property voluntarily the landlord can have the house evicted by a bailiff. 

Sometimes measures can be taken to prevent eviction. If possible, a so called moratorium can be request with help of the municipality, as a result of which the lessor may not proceed with eviction for a period of 6 months. It is also possible – with the intervention of an attorney at law – to commence speed procedure in which the court is requested to forbid the eviction. You can read more about the possibilities to prevent eviction in the article: My Amsterdam landlord wants to vacate the property: can I still prevent this?

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