Is A Rent Reduction Possible?

TL;DR

  • If you are renting less than 70m2? It’s likely that you are overpaying for your accommodation and could apply for a rent reduction.
  • ‘Rent ceiling’ refers to the maximum amount of rent a landlord can charge a tenant. Rent ceiling is a form of rent control and is set by Dutch rental law.

Most people, especially expats and international students renting in the Netherlands, often have trouble understanding the law and regulations governing rent in the Netherlands. As a result, theyAs a result, they tend to find themselves in precarious situations like getting misguided by landlords due to the language barrier and the pressure because of the housing shortage in the biggest student cities. We, RentReturn and Rent tribunal, otherwise known as ‘Huurcommisie’, becomes relevant. Unfortunately, most information about the Rent tribunal is only available in Dutch, but don’t worry, we’ve got the job! All you have to do is some preliminary work, such as requesting a contract check, sit back and relax while we do the rest of the work.

What Is A Rent Ceiling?

In the Netherlands, there is a maximum permitted rental price for accommodations. That means that the landlord is not allowed to charge more than the permitted rental price. The maximum rental price is calculated with a point system and is different for self-contained accommodations (studio/apartments) and non-self-contained accommodations (shared accommodations such as rooms). 9 out of 10 rental apartments are overpriced. Unfortunately, most people (even locals) don’t know this, and they end up paying too much rent.

As a tenant, you are very well protected by the Dutch rental law. Tenants even have more and better rights than landlords. For instance, the burden of proof always lies with the landlord and not the tenant. This is very important to know, especially when it comes to the reimbursement of your deposit.

With this being said, many accommodations have a maximum permitted rental price, the so-called rent ceiling. The rent ceiling applies to:

  1. All non-liberalised housing. Non-liberalised means all housing under € 752,00 per month.
  2. Housing over € 752,00, but it should be less according to the point system.

Case Study: Rent Reduction With An Apartment Of € 950,00

Whilst searching for your accommodation, did this thought: ‘Wow, this accommodation looks nice but unfortunately overpriced’ ever crossed your mind?’ It probably did, and you were probably right too. Ever thought, ‘Why is this housing market overpriced and not regulated?’. Good question, let me give you the answer. They assume ‘you foreigners’ don’t know that the housing market IS regulated here in the Netherlands. Wait, what? Yes, really!

Imagine you just signed a lease for an apartment of

You receive a tenancy agreement looking like this;

All the points mentioned above are clues that you might be overpaying. Firstly, the landlord must separate each cost and cannot calculate one rental price, like 1 price fits all? Not allowed. There must be a breakdown of all the costs. It should mention the price for the basic rent, the service costs, and the furniture.  

Also, the bullet points above already mention some negatives, which will result in fewer points for the landlord. Therefore, it’s likely that this person above is paying too much rent. 

This is an example of a case that requested a rent reduction with us. Eventually, the tenant got a breakdown of the costs, with a basic rent per month of 437 EUR, furniture of 70 EUR, gas, water, electricity, TV, and internet was 160 EUR, which made the rent decrease 667 EUR. This is a difference of 283 EUR of reduction in rent. By the time the court rules in favour of the tenant, the tenant was living in this apartment for 16 months already. This meant a refund of 16 months * 283 EUR = 4,528 EUR!

When Can I Apply For Rent Reduction?

When you signed the rental agreement for the accommodation, you can upload your contract to estimate whether you are eligible for a rent reduction.

You must apply for a rent reduction, depending on the type of agreement, within:

  • 6 months after the end of your definite period contract (also known as a short-term tenancy agreement, fixed-period tenancy agreement or temporary tenancy agreement). If you don’t plan to stay longer than your definite period contract, you could request a rent reduction as soon as possible. However, if you intend to stay longer, it’s best to wait until at least 2 months before the tenancy agreement ends because if the landlord does not denounce the termination of your contract, you automatically acquired the right to stay in the apartment for as long as you wish. 
  • 6 months after the start of your indefinite period contract

If you request a rent reduction within the period mentioned above, the rent reduction will apply to all the months you have been overpaying the rent if research shows you have indeed been overpaying.

However, because the research and measuring of your accommodation might take some time, we’d recommend you to contact us as soon as possible and preferably no later than four months after signing your tenancy agreement. 

What Is The Rent Reduction Procedure?

Everything starts with the free contract check. You can inform us that you’d like to know if you can apply for a rent reduction and provide us with the relevant documents to examine the situation. Thereafter you will need to start the actual procedure, which takes up most of your time.

The simplified procedure will look as follows:

  1. Service or Cession
  2. ‘Huurcommissie’
  3. No appeal
  4. Subpoena
  5. Go to court
  6. Recovery of debt

At stage 2, when the Huurcommissie rules in your favour, the reduced rent price is in effect. However, the landlord has 8 weeks to file an appeal, but from experience, however, only less than 50% does this. Therefore, we assume at stage 3 the ‘no appeal’. From stage 4 on, you will be trying to collect the overpaid rent price, and you can imagine that no one wants to pay back hundreds or thousands of euro. Considering that the total procedure can take up to two years, this is also why most people outsource this entire procedure; time-efficient and an experienced expert because honestly re-inventing the wheel? It would be much easier to leave it up to a professional (read: RentReturn), so you’ll have more time thinking about how you can spend your rent savings!

Can I Get Rent Reduction?

Yes, this rent reduction could be possible. However, if you want to know for sure, make sure to request a free contract check so we can inform you about your rights as a tenant.