Renting a Property and “Administration Costs”
As an expat you are in an interesting position with regards to property rental. You need somewhere to live, but you don’t know that the charges being brought are fair, allowed, or reasonable and unless you speak Dutch it’s difficult to read the relevant advice. The responsibility for tackling unfair charges falls to the Authoriteit Consument & Markt . They have pages in English, but not about the this topic. That’s because this topic falls to their other site: Consuwijzer , and whilst they’ll help you in English , the relevant article on what charges can be made doesn’t appear to have any English version. So I thought it useful to translate (on a best efforts basis). You can also seek free advice at Het Juridisch Loket
What charges can a rental broker make?
What does a rental broker do?
A rental broker can help you with
- finding a rental property. Because you have asked him to look for a suitable property for you;
- the viewing of a rental property;
- negotiating with the lessor. For example, over the rental price;
- the setting up of the rental contract. The rental broker ensures that a contract is made between you and the lessor.
A rental broker (‘huurbemiddelaar’) is sometimes called a ‘woonbureau’ , ‘huurbemiddelingsbureau’, or ‘verhuurmakelaar’
What charges can a rental broker make?
Are you using the services of a rental broker? Then he can charge you broker costs.
You pay the rental broker for the services that you use. These ‘bemiddelingskosten’ also go under than names of ‘courtage’, ‘administratiekosten’, ‘contractkosten’ or ‘dossierkosten’
Has the rental broker been instructed by the lessor to offer the property?
Then he is only allowed to charge the lessor for brokering. He cannot charge you, as the renter, any costs for the brokerage. This also applies even if it says he can in the contract.
The rental broker can charge you for services that aren’t related to rental brokering. For example, for arranging parking permits or carrying out odd odd jobs.
Note: The rules for ‘bemiddelingskosten’ are applicable to all properties as of 1 July 2016. Therefore, they are also applicable to (student)rooms and floors.
How do I know if the rental broker has been instructed by the lessor?
A rental broker who has been instructed by a lessor must tell you this. You can also recognise it if he, for example:
- places photos of the rental property on his website;
- arranges that you can ask questions to the lessor via him
- or, furthermore, also arranges the viewing
The rental broker does these works on behalf of the lessor.
What can I do if I have unjustly paid a ‘bemiddelingskost’ to a rental broker?
First speak with the rental broker
Try to find a solution together. If that doesn’t work, then you can do the following.
Write the rental broker a letter
Put the following information in the letter:
- that he was under instruction for the lessor and that you did not have to pay the ‘bemiddelingskost’
- that this is the reason that you want your money back
- that you want an answer to your letter before a specific date. Note: the time that you give the business must be reasonable.
You can send the letter by registered post. Then you have proof that the letter has been sent. If you have legal insurance and the situation is not resolved, then maybe they can help you.
Go to the Geschillencommissie
Are you unable to resolve the situation with the rental broker? Take your complaint to the Geschillencommissie. That’s only possible if the broker is a member of a trade organisation that has access to the Geschillencommissie. Or if your broker is directly registered by the Geschillecommissie. You can find more information on the Geschillencommissie website.
Go to court
If the rental broker isn’t covered by the Geschillencommissie, then you can go to court. If you don’t have legal insurance, than you should first look to see exactly how much this will cost.