Many expats experience problems with their landlord. Be it because they suffer from lack of maintenance, an unexpected minimum lease term or the refusal to return the deposit at the end of the lease.
Tenants in the Netherlands have a lot of protection under the law. The first thing every tenant should do is check if the agreed price is in accordance to the law.
The government has a web application for the calculation of the maximum reasonable rent for independent living space in English here. For dependent living space, you can find it here.
At some point you will need to supply the value of the leased premises, which you can find by entering the address here. It’s only in Dutch, but as soon as you enter the address in the search box, you will find the appropriate house and it’s official value.
Now, once you have the maximum rent value per month, you should check if that value is lower or higher than the rent liberalization limit, which you can check here. It is below the limit and are you paying (substantially) more? Than you are in luck!
The law gives you the right to have the rent fixed by the rent tribunal retrospectively from the start of the lease within half a year from the time that your contract is considered to be for an indefinite term. In case your contract is for an indefinite term from the start, than the request must be made within half a year from the start of the contract. If your contract is for a definite term than you must do it within half a year after that (first) definite term, since a renewed contract is considered for an indefinite term by force of law.
You rented an apartment for € 1,400 per month for one year from 1 July 2019 and on 1 July 2020, it was renewed. You now have until 1 January 2021 to request that the initial rent be fixed retroactively. Suppose that the maximum reasonable rent according to the government system is € 721 and that the Rent tribunal fixes the rent to that amount on 1 September 2021 (that’s optimistic, because the Rent Tribunals have a terrible backlog). Without taking into account indexation etc., you will now have a claim of € 18,333 on your landlord, or more than two years rent free.