Most frequent questions and answers
It might look really hard to rent out your property, but in reality, it’s not too bad or difficult. There are a few things to keep into account. First off, it’s a good idea to consider working with real estate agents. They take care of the entire process of renting out your property and they can answer all your questions as well. Read more about the process here: https://www.expathousing.com/blog/how-do-i-rent-out-my-property-to-expats-in-amsterdam/
As soon as you put your house up for rent, chances are that there will be a lot of potential tenants. But how do you make the best decision of who you let live in your property? First of all, it’s important to follow the law. Landlords must treat all potential tenants equally. You are not allowed to discriminate against certain classes of people in any activity related to housing.
You want to look for a tenant who is financially stable and responsible. You have more certainty that the monthly rent will be paid, if the tenant doesn’t have a clean history of paying the bills on time.
If possible, you could look into or ask for the tenant’s rental history. You could ask for a landlords declaration, in which the previous landlords declare that the tenant paid their rent on time, weren’t causing any trouble and were pleasant tenants overall.
But most of all, trust your instincts. You can do all the screening you want, but sometimes your instincts are the best judge of character. You may feel that there is something off about a tenant who otherwise looks good on paper. Trust your screening, but do not ignore your gut.
Even under the best of circumstances or with the best prior screening, does not guarantee you good tenants. It’s not unusual for a well-intentioned tenant to struggle to pay rent from time to time. Eviction seems harsh, but it’s the business of rental properties. If a tenant can’t pay, you have to remove them from your property. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking them to leave. Other times, you will have to go through the formal eviction process. Tenants are protected by law against cancellation of the lease by the landlord.
There are five situations that can lead a cantonal judge to justify the request to evict the tenant.
1. A rent arrears of at least 3 months;
2. The tenant has started a cannabis plantation inside your house;
3. You urgently need the rented property for your own use*;
4. Illegal subletting;
5. There is serious nuisance like noise, animals or odor nuisance.
*This is only valid if the landlord’s interest outweigh the tenant’s interest. In some cases, the tenant must therefore be able to obtain suitable replacement accommodation. As a landlord, you sometimes have to pay a moving expenses allowance.
As soon as you consider to rent out your house, you must know that this will be for a period of minimum six months. If you only want to rent out for a couple of weeks or even a couple of months, it’s advised to check out other options, like AirBnB.
You can read how that works here: https://www.expathousing.com/blog/rules-airbnb-rental-amsterdam/. As a landlord you have to take into account that you have to take out a building/residential/liability insurance as a homeowner. A condition for insuring the property is that the property is used for private purposes only. Read everything you need to know before renting out your house here: https://www.expathousing.com/blog/what-you-need-to-consider-while-renting-out-your-property-in-amsterdam/
The landlord retains the right of access to the property. He or she may only not enter unannounced. The owner must always knock or ring the doorbell and wait until it is opened. Despite the landlord’s right of ownership, the tenant’s privacy must be respected.
The notice period for the landlord is at least 3 months. For each year that you live in the house, there will be an additional month. Up to a total maximum notice period of 6 months. In case of malpractice, the landlord is allowed to terminate the rent. Malpractice means that you do not behave like a good tenant.
For example, because you are in arrears or because you cause serious nuisance. In this case, your landlord can terminate the rent.
The maintenance of your rental property is divided between the tenant and the landlord. The landlord takes care of the major maintenance. The tenant take care of the small and daily maintenance of the rented accommodation themselves.
So, small repairs are for the account of the tenant. Major repairs and maintenance are for the account of the landlord. The tenant must give the landlord access to the rental property so that the landlord can carry out the maintenance or repair. In case of problems with maintenance or defects of your social housing, please contact your landlord first.
Are you unable to come to an agreement together? Then you can do several things. Such as temporarily failing to pay the rent or applying for a rent reduction from the Rent Commission.
Are you renting accommodation in the private sector? Then in most cases you will have to go to court.
Landlords cannot unreasonably prohibit guests from entering the rental property or charge a fee for having guests over. However, you can put specific terms in your lease that relate to tenants’ guests and their rights. Having an unwanted or long-term guest is not uncommon in rentals, so you should consider details such as how long the guest is allowed to stay and when this guests turns into a tenant.
Sometimes, landlords specify that after a certain number of consecutive overnight stays, the guest becomes a tenant and must be added to the lease.
A common complaint is that landlords say that “you’ve got that” with older houses. They also often refer to the ventilation behavior of the tenants. The whole fungus-in-rental problem can therefore cause a lot of frustration among tenants. If it is established that there is a defect, a lessor must remedy the defect, unless it concerns a minor repair for the account of the lessee. For example, if it concerns a small amount of mold in the bathroom that a tenant can easily treat with a not very expensive can of mold spray, then that is such a small repair. Of course this is for further discussion with the landlord. When is the mold in your house serious enough not to have to deal with it yourself? Fortunately, the Rent Commission provides some guidance. In its defect book it states: mould > 0.25 m2 = a serious defect.
Incidentally, a landlord only has to repair defects if the tenant asks for this. Complain, preferably in writing, to the landlord about the fungus and set a deadline within which you want the problem solved. That deadline must be reasonable, so not ‘tomorrow’.
If a water pipe suddenly leaks, the landlord must repair it. Of course he does. But is the landlord also liable for the consequential damage of the leaking water? For example, does the landlord have to compensate the water damage to the floor covering? In order to be able to hold the lessor liable for this consequential damage, it must be attributable to the lessor. This may be the case if the damage is the result of insufficient maintenance or a defective repair by the lessor, but also if the inspection or care with respect to the rented property has been inadequate.
If your basic rent (without the service and additional charges) is €699.48 or less, your apartment is probably rent controlled. If the basic rent is higher your apartment is most likely considered “free market” and rent control doesn’t apply. The rent increase sent by the landlord each year is a proposal. If the tenant pays the increase it becomes an agreement. But if the proposal isn’t correct (e.g. if the increase is too high or too little time has passed since the previous rent increase), the tenant can object. This has to be done before the proposed rent increase will take effect.
What is considered a reasonable amount of time will vary by city rules and by the severity of the issue. Many cities will allow a landlord 30 days to fix a problem, while others will only allow three to seven days for serious issues, such as lack of heat or running water. If the repair is not completed within this time period, the landlord may owe the tenant damages, the tenant could be allowed to move out of the rental unit, the court could hire a third party to complete the repairs or the landlord could be fined.
If your landlord refuses to repair a defect, please send him a registered letter. Tell him to repair the defect as soon as possible. If your landlord refuses to carry out a repair, you may threaten to have the repair done by yourself and deduct the cost from the rental price. In case you as a tenant have less rental enjoyment due to a defect, for which landlord is responsible, you can claim a proportional reduction of the rent in court. The reduced rent can be claimed from the day on which the landlord was sufficiently aware of the defect and can last until the day on which the defect has been remedied. It is therefore advisable to inform your landlord of the defect as soon as possible by registered letter.
If you pay rent every month, then the period of notice is one full calendar month. This period is determined by law and it is not allowed to add a clause to the contract that conflicts with that. In other words: even if your rental contract states that the period of notice is two – or more – months, if you pay rent every month you will only have one month notice. Legally, the termination of the rental contract must be done by registered letter. This means that you send the notice through the post office. In many cases landlords do not answer if you do this via regular mail or e-mail. In such cases, it’s important to make sure you receive a response in which the landlord confirms receipt of your notice. If, later on, your landlord denies having received your notice, it is up to you to prove that you have terminated the lease.