Expats lose thousands to landlords who refuse to repay deposits
Various housing organisations have revealed that expats renting property in the Netherlands are regularly cheated out of hundreds, if not thousands of euros by landlords who refuse to return rental deposits.
Rogue landlords can cost expats thousands of euros
Companies that assist tenants with rental conflicts have reported to the NOS that a number of commercial landlords in the Netherlands refuse to repay tenants’ deposit, in spite of the fact that there is nothing wrong with the property when they move out.
Gert Jan Bakker, who works for !Woon in Amsterdam, a nonprofit organisation that provides information, support, and (legal) advice for tenants, says it happens hundreds of times every year in the Dutch capital alone, and that it can cost expats thousands of euros: “Expats often have to pay two to three times the rent as a deposit,” he reports. “And an apartment in Amsterdam quickly costs 2000 per month. Then you are talking about 4000 to 6000 euros.”
While the issue is most prevalent in Amsterdam, it is becoming increasingly common in other Dutch cities. Urbannerdam, an agency that helps tenants on behalf of municipalities in Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Leiden, says they are seeing an increase in the number of cases of tenants being unjustly refused their deposit.
Landlords have to prove supposed damage was caused by tenants
The experts say the issue is growing as temporary rental contracts become more and more common, both among expats and locals, giving landlords more opportunity to withhold deposits, with some apparently even counting deposits as an additional source of income.
“Expats often go back to their country of origin or another international location. Such a landlord knows this and then thinks: why should I repay the deposit?” Bakker explains. In reality, landlords have to be able to prove that damage has been caused by the tenant in order to retain (part of) the deposit.
Tenants are advised to carry out an inspection with the landlord when they move into and out of a property, and to record the condition of the property through photos. Anyone who falls victim to these rogue landlords can choose to contact an agency or organisation to assist them or handle the case on their behalf. They could also take legal action, which experts say should be a viable option for any deposit of over 500 euros.