When renting a property in the Netherlands, a tenant has several rights that he should take note of. Similar to the protection of an employee in labour law, Dutch Tenancy Law offers tenants considerable protection.
Consequently, several clauses in tenancy contracts do not bind the tenant, while they do bind the leasor. To prevent disputes, it is wise to have a tenancy contract checked by a specialised lawyer before signing.
Dutch law protects tenants against attempts by the landlord to terminate a tenancy contract. A landlord can only terminate a tenancy contract once this has been approved of by a judge. The only exception to this rule is with a short term tenancy contract, however, there are strict and limited rules for the use of such a contract. Expats are often offered a short term contract, so they are urgently advised to check that the content of the document is legally sound.
In the Netherlands, tenants are also well protected regarding rent rates. Expats – their foreign employers that is – are often willing to pay a substantial amount of rent. However, if it is questionable whether or not the property is worth paying such a substantial rent, it is possible to request a legal committee to assess the situation. There are strict rules concerning rental rates, as long as you remain under a certain price limit (‘liberalisatiegrens’). Once the rent surpasses this price limit, the rules no longer apply and consequently the tenant and leasor are free to determine a price. Within the first six months after the tenancy contract has taken effect, it is possible to request a legal committee to determine whether or not the rent surpasses the price limit. If it does, the committee can have it corrected. After the six month period has expired it is no longer possible to have the rent assessed, and it will be assumed that you belong and will remain in the higher rent category.
You should bear in mind that it is against Dutch law for agents offering property rentals to charge prospective tenants a brokerage fee for their services. If an agent is representing the landlord (as is often the case) and you are not able to deal directly with that landlord, the agent is not allowed to charge you a brokerage fee.