Possible problems with renting
We hope you are having a great time in your new home in Groningen. However, you might encounter certain difficulties. What about a rental price that is too high, or poor maintenance of your accommodation? Below we explain the most common problems.
Many apartments that are rented out to expats or students are found through agencies. In the past, many tenants paid a fee to an agent. According to Dutch law, in most cases, this is also not allowed, and you can claim back these costs. It is also not allowed to ask for an agency fee for rooms (such as contract costs and administration costs/fees). Therefore you can also claim back the agency fee if you paid for a room.
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 a point system. You can proceed with calculations on the (Dutch written) Huurcommissie Rent Check. 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.
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, windows that won’t open and rooms that can’t be locked. 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 or utilities costs back
When you sign your rental contract, in most cases you have to pay a deposit. At the end of your stay, you receive this amount back, unless you do not leave the room in good condition. To determine the condition at the beginning and end of your stay, an inspection report should be made. If you leave the accommodation in the same condition as you received it, your landlord is obliged to transfer the deposit within 3 months. If not, you may ask legal advisors for assistance.
On top of your basic rent, your landlord may charge you costs for utilities, such as gas, water, electricity, WiFi 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 30 June. In case the advanced amount you paid is higher than what you actually used, your landlord should repay the excess amount. If not, you can ask legal advisors for assistance.
Free legal advice
GSb (The Groningen Students’ Union) offers free legal advice to students who experience problems with housing and have disagreements with their landlords. With the handy Housing Guide, you can find a lot of information.