Types of Rental Properties
Different combinations are possible, depending on the landlord:
- Unfurnished (Ongemeubileerd). This offers the barest of necessities – namely, empty. Generally nothing much is included here; no carpeting, no curtains, often a minimum of or no appliances and no utilities.
- Semi-furnished (Gestoffeerd). Semi-furnished contains some furnishings and carpeting, and possibly a few appliances.Keep in mind to ask for a complete list of what is included. Utility inclusion or exclusion depends on the landlord.
- Furnished (Gemeubileerd). Everything has been taken care of and the apartment is ready to be moved into. It may contain any combination of furniture, appliances, curtains, light fixtures, carpets, cutlery and dishes, television, stereo equipment, kitchen appliances such as microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, and sometimes even bed linens and blankets or down feather beds. Make sure to ask for a complete inventory list before agreeing to anything. If anything is missing, negotiate it before you sign the lease. Utilities are (usually) included.
The Rental Contract
Many rental contracts have been especially designed to meet the needs of expatriates, and include an English translation.
A rental contract usually includes the following items:
- Rent: payable one month in advance
- A deposit: usually one month, sometimes 2 or 3
- An annual adjustment of the rent, based on increases in the cost of living, as determined by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)
- User’s costs, such as utilities, municipal levies and gardenmaintenance
- Diplomatic clause
- Brokerage fee
- A clause on minor repairs
- A clause stating that the lessee is responsible for the yearly cleaning of the central heating system, water boilers, chimneys, gutters and draining pipes
- The obligation to return the property in the same condition, normal wear and tear excepted, at the end of the rental period– or else forfeit (a part of) the deposit.
It can happen, that you have rented a property, but are sent to another location or country before the rental contract comes to its end– or that the owner, who rented it out to you because he himself was sent abroad, is brought back home by his employer. In these situations, one of you will have to able to terminate the rental contract before the agreed term is over. In order to be able to do this, make sure you include a diplomatic clause in your rental contract, which gives either of you the option of terminating the contract after a notification term mutually agreed upon in advance, should this be necessary.
In connection with repairs, you are advised to do a careful walk-through of the house or apartment you are planning on renting, verifying damages and the need for repairs and improvements – and determining who will be responsible for arranging and paying for these – before you sign on the dotted line.
When the contracts have been signed, and the rent and deposit have been paid into the account of the agent, the lessee will be handed the keys to the property. Ideally, the lessee will be checked in by the owner or his representative, assisted by his own agent. A checklist will be filled out regarding the condition of the house, the furniture, fixtures and fittings belonging to the house, the condition of the exterior/garden, and there will be a check of the inventory. The house should be thoroughly cleaned, including the inside of kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The inspection report as well as the inventory list must be signed by lessee and lessor.
Terminating the Rental Contract
If you do not specifically stipulate in writing that, after the initial one-year rental period, you will vacate the premises, then the contract undergoes a stilzwijgende verlenging or silent continuance whereby you will be liable for a new year of rental fees and you will at the very least lose your deposit (usually two months’ rent) if you move out anyway.
However, after the initial one-year period, if you wish to continue your lease on a month-to-month basis this can be negotiated, depending on your landlord. You may also choose to continue your rental contract for a longer period of time. Either agreement should be confirmed in writing.
Always inform your landlord well in advance as to what date the contract for your apartment will expire and when you will be leaving. This should be done by way of a registered letter. Depending on your rental contract, there is a notice period to be given before the expiration of the tenancy of:
- at least one calendar month in case the lessee terminates
- at least three months + one month for every year the property has been rented to the lessee with a maximum of six months in case the lessor terminates the contract
Preferably on the last day of the lease period, a check-out is done with all parties concerned. The inventory and condition of the lease property are checked with the checklist made when checking in. If the state of the property is found to be satisfactory and all bills in connection with the property have been paid, the deposit will be paid back within three months after the check-out date. If necessary, the costs of restoring the rental property back to the required state will be deducted from the deposit in accordance with the bills provided by the lessor.
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