Navigating the Good Landlordship Act: What You Should Know As Tenants

For many, the idea of finding a suitable rental property can be an arduous task, fraught with uncertainties and challenges. In the Netherlands, where the demand for rental housing often outpaces supply, tenants have long faced issues such as soaring rental prices, unjustifiable behaviour from landlords, and housing discrimination. However, the Good Landlordship Act (in Dutch: Wet goed verhuurderschap), implemented by the Dutch government on July 1, 2023, is poised to change the rental landscape in the Dutch housing market in the private sector for tenants and landlords alike. This new legislation grants municipalities more authority to take action against unfair rental practices by private landlords, such as housing bias, harassment, unjust service charges, and excessive security deposits.

As international students renting accommodation in the Netherlands, this act provides more substantial legal safeguards for you as tenants against abuse by landlords, ensuring your rights and well-being are protected. In the following blog, we’ll inform you the key points the Good Landlordship Act and its implications for you as tenants in the Netherlands.

What Is The Good Landlord Act In The Netherlands?

Key Provisions of Good Landlordship Act

The new legislation defines the concept of ethical landlord practices and outlines seven fundamental rules that are mandatory for private landlords, rental agents, and housing associations operating in the Netherlands. Let’s provide an overview of these rules.

1. The landlord must refrain from making unjustified discrimination against individuals looking for rental properties.

One of the most important aspects of the Good Landlordship Act is the prohibition of discrimination during the rental process. Landlords are required to use transparent selection procedure when choosing tenants. Objective selection criteria must be communicated openly when advertising rental properties. Importantly, landlords must justify their selection decisions to those who were not chosen.

2. The landlord is not allowed to intimidate or threaten the tenant.

Tenants should feel safe and secure in their rental homes. Actions like threatening eviction or disconnecting utilities are strictly forbidden.

3. The landlord can request a deposit, but it cannot exceed 2 times the basic rent.

The regulation places a cap on the amount a landlord can request as a security deposit – it may not exceed twice the basic rent. Additionally, landlords are obligated to refund the deposit within 14 days of the end of the rental contract, unless there is damage to the property or rent still due. Landlords may only deduct rent, service charges, tenant-caused property damage, and energy performance fees from the deposit.

4. The landlord is obligated to provide the rental agreement in written form.

Rental agreement must now be provided in writing, which enhances clarity for both landlords and tenants. This doesn’t mean verbal tenancy agreements are invalid, but a written rental agreement helps ensure tenant’s rights are clearly defined.

5. The landlord is obliged to provide written information to the tenant about:

  • Tenant rights and responsibilities, if not already outlined in the rental agreement.
  • The deposit amount and the date when it will be returned to the tenant upon the termination of the rental agreement.
  • Contact information for reaching the landlord or property manager.
  • Contact information for the municipal hotline dedicated to handling complaints about landlords.
  • A detailed breakdown of costs.

6. The landlord is only allowed to charge service costs in accordance with legal rules.

The landlord can charge service costs, which are additional expenses on top of the basic rent of the home. These expenses might include services such as cleaning, furnishing, and utilities. At the start of the rental agreement, the landlord must inform you about the service costs. Furthermore, it’s essential to note that the landlord cannot demand unreasonably service charges from the tenants.

7. Rental agencies are not permitted to charge mediation fees to tenants.

Lastly, this law reiterates the prohibition for rental agents (in addition to the restriction in Article 7:417, paragraph 4 of the Dutch Civil Code) against charging tenants mediation fees. Due to potential conflicts of interest, rental agencies cannot represent both landlords and tenants at once. They must choose one side to represent. If they represent the landlord, they cannot charge the tenant for their services. Municipalities can intervene if this rule is violated.

What Matters to You as a Tenant Under the Good Landlordship Act?

As an international student, it’s reassuring to know that Dutch law provides comprehensive protection for tenants. The Good Landlordship Act safeguards your rights and ensures that you are treated fairly. As such, understanding the rules of Good Landlordship Act is paramount importance for you as tenants and home seekers. The recent law mandates that every municipality must establish reporting points by January 1, 2024. Already, major cities like The Hague have taken the lead in this initiative. These reporting points offer a vital resource for tenants and home seekers, providing a platform to report bad landlord practices violating of the 7 rules of Good Landlord Act. 

What makes this system even more valuable is its accessibility; tenants can report their concerns at no cost and with full anonymity. Furthermore, municipalities have the authority to take action against landlords with undesirable rental behavior, including imposing administrative fines. In extreme cases, they even have the power to step in and manage the property themselves. This new legislation from the Dutch government thus empowers tenants, providing them with the tools to ensure their rights and well-being are protected in the rental market.

Beyond Housing Search: How Student Housing Hunter Can Support You

At Student Housing Hunter, we understand the challenges international students face when seeking accommodation in the Netherlands. We’ve been there ourselves, which is why we go the extra mile to ensure our students find housing that not only meets their needs but also adheres to the principles of the Good Landlordship Act.

Not only do we vet landlords’ credentials and rental permits, but we also work exclusively with credible housing agencies. Our partnerships are built on the foundation of mutual trust, guaranteeing that you receive housing services that comply with Dutch law and regulations. Additionally, we meticulously review tenancy agreements to ensure they are fully aligned with the principles of the Good Landlordship Act.

Discover the full scope of our services and find out how we can assist you in your quest for housing in the Netherlands here.