Possible problems with renting

We hope you are having a great time in your new home in Groningen. However, you might encounter certain difficulties. Below you can find explanations for the most common problems.

Agency fees

Many apartments that are rented out to expats or students are found via agencies. Many tenants in the past paid a fee to an agent. According to Dutch law, in most cases, this is not permitted.

The highest civil court in the country decided that if a house is advertised by an agency there is the assumption that the agency is working for the landlord. Because there is a conflict of interest, between the landlord and the tenant, the agency can not represent both parties and it is not allowed to ask for an agency fee. If you already paid this fee, you can claim a refund.

Since the 1st of July 2016, it is also not allowed to ask for an agency fee for rooms and therefore you can also claim back the agency fee if you paid for a room.

Sometimes agencies refer to an agency fee as contract costs, administration costs, administration fees, etc. This is also not allowed, and you can claim back these costs.

This means that if you rented the apartment through an agency, you can start a process against the agency if they are working for the landlord and advertised the apartment or room. First, write a letter to the agency. This letter needs to include the following information:

  • The agency was working for the landlord and therefore you were not obliged to pay an agency fee.
  • You want a refund within two weeks of the date on your letter.
  • If the agency does not comply you can start legal procedures, taking the matter to court.

You can get more advice on tackling agency issues with the list of agencies on the bottom of the page

High rent

The legally permitted maximum rental price of your accommodation is identified by the Dutch rental law in the rent-controlled sector.  The calculation is based on the point system. The more points your accommodation receives the higher the rental price will be. You can proceed with calculations on this website: Huurcommissie Rent Check. Please be aware that this website is only available in Dutch. We advise you to ask a Dutch-speaking person to assist you. If you think that you are paying too much, or feel like your landlord is not providing what he/she should provide, talk about with your landlord first. If this lead to nothing than you can go to a legal advisor who can help you with your issue.

Poor maintenance

Your landlord has to take care of the maintenance of your accommodation, especially in cases with inclusive rent. The examples of defects include lack of ventilation, mold, problems with opening windows and locking your room. In case your place is not maintained properly, you may be eligible for a rent reduction. Legal advisors can offer their assistance on this matter.

Claiming the deposit back

When you sign your rental contract, in most cases, you have to pay a deposit, which is equivalent to the amount of one month of rent for your accommodation. At the end of your stay, you are supposed to receive this amount back, unless you do not leave the room in good condition. To determine the condition of the accommodation at the beginning and end of your stay, an inspection report should be made between you and your landlord. A landlord may withhold the deposit only if, according to the report, you did not leave the accommodation in the same condition as you received it. Otherwise, your landlord is supposed to transfer the deposit to you within 3 months after you ended your rental agreement. In case your landlord did not transfer the deposit within the given time, you may ask legal advisors for assistance.

Claiming utilities costs back

On top of your basic rent, your landlord may charge you costs for utilities. Normally, these may include costs for gas, water, electricity, internet, and TV. You pay these costs in advance. At the end of each calendar year, your landlord is obliged to calculate what you really used and provide an overview to you no later than 30th of June. In case the advanced amount you paid is higher than what you actually used, your landlord should repay you the excess amount back. If he does not do so, you can ask legal advisors for assistance.

List of agencies that can help

Frently: Frently is the rental law expert, which helps with lowering the rent, reclaiming the utility costs, ensuring maintenance of your accommodation. You can contact them about other rent-related matters as well. They offer their service based on a “no cure-no pay” basis. Since 2010, they have successfully tackled more than 1000 procedures.

Het Juridisch Loket: Het Juridisch Loket is a legal service that will help you with any legal advice, including housing. They are familiar with all rental rights and obligations and their advisory service is free. Unfortunately, their website is only in Dutch. Thus, you might need to ask for extra help from a Dutch-speaking person.

GSb: GSb is an organization which strives for a stronger legal position of students and are involved with housing matters as well. They offer free legal advice to students who experience problems with housing and have disagreements with their landlords. They also have a handy Housing Guide in which you can find a lot of information.

De Huurdokters: De Huurdokters has a mission to promote a fair rental market and can help you out with all kinds of rental problems. De Huurdokters has helped a lot of (international) students in the Netherlands through mediation with landlords and by taking cases to court. They cooperate with several student associations in Groningen and always work according a no cure no pay policy.