While normally rents go up for almost all tenants in the Netherlands on 1 July, this year it should be frozen for all social housing and a maximum of 2.4 percent for houses in the free sector. Not all landlords adhere to that rule yet. Tenants must be quick to object, advises the Woonbond.
National politicians have decided that tenants should be protected this year because of corona against further sharp increases in their monthly payments. When asked, the Woonbond says it has received dozens of complaints from tenants who were nevertheless faced with an increase. They can object in writing to their landlord until 1 July, or continue to transfer the old amount.
Four in ten Dutch people rent a home, more than half of whom with a housing association. The same rules do not apply to all homes. Roughly speaking, there are three possibilities: the rent goes down (applies to 260,000 tenants), it remains the same (applies to 2.5 million tenants), or goes up by a maximum of 2.4 percent (applies to hundreds of thousands of free sector tenants).
Checklist for tenants
The Housing Association has a checklist for tenants who do not know which scheme applies to them. You are a social tenant if your basic rent was below the liberalization limit at the start of the rental contract. Then the rent is protected by the points system. This year the limit is 752 euros, but you may still be a social tenant if the rent is above that.
According to spokesperson Marcel Trip of the Woonbond, the group that lives in a social rental home of a private owner is particularly affected. “That does not necessarily have to be unwillingness on the part of the landlord. In some cases, they don’t keep an eye on all the changes in the law.” A maximum increase may also be illegal for landlords in the free sector. Previously, the rent was allowed to rise without limitation above the liberalization limit, unless otherwise stated in the lease.
Protest against 5 percent rent increase
Liselotte Idema is late whether her landlord is aware of the maximum rent increase, but knew she had to protest when the message came that her rent was going up 5 percent. “Because I am aware of my rights as a tenant, partly thanks to the Legal Counters, I know that my landlord’s proposals are against the law.”
Playing landlord has been a popular hobby of wealthy people for some time now
It bothers her that it is not the first time that her landlord is not so strict with her rights as a tenant. For example, she was asked to move because the landlord wanted to sell the property, while she has a contract for an indefinite period. He also wanted to change the contract without her permission. And there was another incident when the roof of the bathroom collapsed. “Playing landlord has been a popular hobby of wealthy people for some time now,” she says. “On behalf of myself and other tenants who want to buy a house, but can’t get it done: if you want to play landlord if necessary, please comply with the law.”
Written objection and assistance from the rent committee
The Woonbond recommends that you lodge an objection in writing, by means of a letter or e-mail. If the landlord nevertheless wishes to proceed with the rent increase, he must submit it to the rent assessment committee within six weeks of the proposed commencement date. He then makes a binding decision.
You can also choose not to lodge an objection, but to continue to pay the old rent. The landlord must then send a reminder within three months of the commencement date if he still wants the increase to go through. If you as a tenant do not agree with this, you must go to the rent assessment committee yourself to lodge an objection.
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