With a new Act scheduled to take effect 1 July, the government seeks to prevent exploitation of tenants by rogue landlords and housing intermediaries. However, the Good Landlordship Act is also important for bona fide landlords as there will be new obligations for all landlords. What do landlords have to consider from now on?
The poor conditions in converted sheds and chicken coops where migrant workers sometimes have to stay are well known, just like the shacks that rack-renters rent to their already vulnerable tenants. The new Good Landlordship Act (Wet goed verhuurderschap), that is likely to take effect on 1 July, is meant to make it possible to better address these abuses. The Act will introduce and further develop the standard of good landlordship for landlords. What rules do landlords have to comply with from now on?
Landlords must refrain from any form of unjustified discrimination when choosing a tenant. This can be done by making clear the procedure and objective selection criteria they use to allocate housing. Landlords must also be able to justify their choice for a tenant to rejected prospective tenants. They must also ensure that their employees work according to these criteria.
In practice, this will mean that landlords will draw up a protocol for the allocation of rental space that can be consulted by employees as well as prospective tenants. The government might yet come up with a regulation defining the minimum content of such a protocol.
The law prohibits landlord harassment. According to the Dutch Human Rights Board, this includes “conduct that […] has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person and creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or humiliating environment.”
A good landlord provides the rental agreement in writing. Even if the arrangements about the lease have first been made orally. If the landlord fails to do so, a penalty may be imposed. This provision only applies to rental agreements entered into after the law takes effect. However, to avoid problems, we recommend that existing oral agreements be recorded in writing.
In addition to a rental agreement, the landlord also has to provide the following in writing:
For existing rental agreements, this information must still be provided to the tenant within one year after the Good Landlord Act takes effect. Thus, it is expected before 1 July 2024.
The landlord must provide a full breakdown of the service costs incurred to the tenant annually in writing. The calculation, justification and increase of the advance payment amount must also comply with the legal rules for this.
For the rental of accommodation to migrant workers, the rental agreement must be established separately from the employment contract. In addition, the landlord has to fulfil their obligation to provide information to the migrant worker-tenant in the language the migrant worker desires or at least understands. For existing rental agreements, this information must be provided within three months of the Act taking effect, thus probably before 1 October 2023.
Migrant workers are defined as EU citizens living in another member state and staying in the Netherlands to perform work. This means, these obligations do not apply, for example, to rental of housing to American, British and Indian expats.
Mediators of rental property may not charge mediation fees to both landlord and tenant. In practice, it mainly concerns charging the costs to the tenant if the mediation is also on behalf of the landlord.
The deposit payable to the tenant must not exceed two times the bare rent, thus excluding service charges, utility costs, furniture and other amenities. The deposit must be refunded to the tenant no later than 14 days after the termination of the lease. Full refund is not required if:
In these cases the remaining deposit must be refunded to the tenant within 30 days of the termination of the lease. Also, the tenant has to be notified in writing that a settlement is being made and has to receive a full breakdown of the settled costs.
Municipalities may require a permit for rental of housing in certain neighbourhoods. This permit may be refused if the housing in question is not intended as housing or living space. Refusal is also possible if the landlord, within the previous eight years, has been sanctioned for violation of the standard of good landlordship.
The municipality may also attach one or more of the following conditions to the permit for rental of housing:
The responsibility for the enforcement of the Good Landlord Act lies with municipal supervisors. To facilitate this enforcement, the municipalities are required to establish a hotline where complaints about undesirable rental conduct can be reported. The government will provide further rules on what personal data these hotlines may process and how long these data may be kept.
Failure to abide by the rules for good landlordship may result in revocation of the landlord’s permit, an order under penalty to undo the violation and/or a fine up to EUR 90,000 for a repeated violation. In addition, after two violations in four years, the landlord may be required to hand over the management of the housing or living space to a manager. The municipality can recover the costs of this management from the landlord.
Do you have any questions about the new rules for good landlordship? Do you want us to draft, for example, a housing allocation protocol? We will also be happy to help you in other issues or disputes concerning rent or real estate. Please contact us:
Buildings may be timeless but every now and then work will have to be carried out in order to prevent decay. Lessees and lessors have different rights and duties, depending on whether the work can be considered as renovation or (urgent) maintenance.
The main difference between 230a and 290 business premises is the minimum term of lease. The longer lease term for 290 business premises gives retail and hospitality businesses more time to recoup their investments. What are the lease terms for the different types of business premises?
Leasing 230a or 290 business premises? What do these terms mean anyway? And, most importantly, what are the consequences of this difference for lessors and lessees of business premises?
As sustainable products, such as solar panels and reusable floors and walls, can be very expensive, they are increasingly being rented out. This also allows people and companies with smaller budgets to invest in sustainability. However, lessors of these sustainable products risk losing their properties due to legal regulations. How can they mitigate this risk?
What was the most important and interesting legal news of 2022? Check out our top 10 posts from 2022.
From now on, landlords have to notify the municipality of rent arrears. Failure to comply with this requirement may be grounds for the court not to dissolve the rental agreement and not to have a tenant evicted. Even if the tenant has not paid rent for more than three months.