When you are ready to rent a house or apartment in the Hague, keep in mind that Dutch laws offer a high level of protection for tenants. It’s always helpful to be aware of your rights and obligations – and there are various organisations and agencies to help out if you’re unsure about anything. Below, you can also find advice about what to look out for when signing a tenancy agreement.
Know Your Rights as a Tenant
Tenants in the Netherlands are very well protected in legal terms, so it is useful to know your rights. Some housing laws in the private sector have been loosened in recent years, but the landlord is still always responsible for:
- Ensuring availability of the property within the agreed rental period
- Covering any necessary major repairs and maintenance (within a reasonable period)
- Solving any problems affecting the tenant (plumbing, electricity, internet, etc.)
- Giving valid reasons and due notice for ending the tenancy agreement
The tenant must in return:
- Pay the agreed monthly rent on time
- Follow the agreed-upon house rules
- Pay for minor repairs (such as a broken tap)
- Allow the landlord to enter the accommodation to make repairs (within a reasonable period)
- Give due notice to end the tenancy agreement
Ending a Tenancy Agreement
To terminate a rental contract for a property in the Netherlands, a tenant must give written notice by registered letter. A notice period applies, which will be stated in your tenancy agreement. It’s usually a minimum of one month and can be a maximum of three months. When a landlord decides to end a tenancy agreement, they must also communicate this (to all tenants) by registered letter, and they must have a legal reason for doing so. Legal reasons can include the tenant being behind on rent payments, the tenant causing a nuisance, the landlord urgently needing the property to live in themselves, or if the tenant disagrees with changes in the lease, such as higher rent after extensive maintenance. The landlord’s notice period is at least one month for temporary leases, and three to six months for fixed-term leases, depending on how long the tenant has lived in the house.
How to Handle Disputes
An important benefit of renting property in the Netherlands is that various independent agencies are available to help with settling disputes and upholding your rights as a tenant. If a landlord, for example, refuses to or does not complete necessary repairs within a reasonable time period, you can apply to the Huurcommissie (‘rent committee’) for a ruling. The committee can require a landlord to complete the work, but also reduce your rent due to the lower living standards you face due to repairs not being carried out.
If you are worried that your landlord may be raising your rent unfairly, overcharging for services, or acting improperly in any way, get in contact with the Fair Rent Team at your local municipality. You can also ask them questions about all aspects of expat rentals – your rental contract, housing permits, disputes with your landlord and more. They can guide you or direct you to the right authorities. The Hague Housing Inspection Bureau (‘Haagse Pandbrigade’) maintains safety and quality of life in The Hague’s neighbourhoods, inspecting buildings for overdue maintenance, illegal use, overcrowding and similar issues. Finally, general legal information about renting a home can be found on the Government of the Netherlands page.
Visit WA.nl (in Dutch) for more information on tenancy law in the Netherlands.
Your Tenancy Agreement
Despite all the help available for tenants, you should always be thorough and careful when reading and signing a tenancy agreement. For example, many of the rights you have may expire six months into the contract’s running time.
A rental contract should generally include several aspects such as whether utilities are included, what the specific house rules are, and a starting and ending date.
Before signing a rental agreement, you’ll need to organise various documentation that proves your identity and ability to pay the rent. Both housing associations and private landlords typically require an approved form of personal identification (such as a passport, driver’s licence or residence permit), an income statement, which is available from the tax authorities, three recent payslips, information about benefits (if applicable), your annual financial statement for the past year and students should also provide an overview of any grants. View a full list of the requirements.