Tenancy agreements for residential accommodation
When you are planning to rent out your house, there is a lot to arrange and even more to consider. The most important of all is to draw up a good tenancy agreement. It would be wise to check the tenancy agreement before signing so you know your legal rights and obligations. There are three main categories of residential tenancy agreements, each with their own set of legal provisions. I this article I will shortly discuss the categories of tenancy agreements for residential accommodation and their legal aspects.
1. Tenancy agreement for an indefinite period of time
Generally speaking, one enters into a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period of time.
The tenant may terminate the agreement at any time. He does not need to explain the reason why he wants to terminate the agreement. He does however need to comply with a notice period, which is equal to period between two payment days (usually one month, maximum three months). And he has to give notice of the termination by registered letter or bailiffs writ (article 7:271 paragraph 3 DCC).
If you want to terminate the agreement as a landlord, you are limited by the statutory grounds for termination as listed in article 7:274 DCC, such as bad tenancy and urgent personal use. You are only allowed to terminate the tenancy agreement on the basis of one of these grounds of termination. For a landlord there’s a notice period of three to six months. This depends on how long the tenancy agreement has lasted. And just like the tenant, you have to give notice of the termination by registered letter or by bailiff’s writ. If the tenant agrees with the termination, the agreement is terminated. If the tenant does not agree, then you must ask the court to terminate the agreement. In that case, the agreement is not terminated until the court decides and the decision is irrevocable (article 7:272 DCC).
Besides termination by notice, you can end a tenancy agreement by mutual agreement (article 7:271 paragraph 8 DCC). And by termination for breach of contract (article 6:265 and 7:231 DCC). This applies to all tenancy agreements, regardless of their duration.
2. Tenancy Agreements for an indefinite term with a minimum lease period of one or two years
This type of agreement ends after termination by the lessee or lessor after that specific period. Premature termination is not allowed. Following on from the above, the lessor has the obligation to refer to his specific (statutory) ground for the termination. This last type of tenancy agreement is under pressure, some people feel that this type of agreement cannot exist since the Property Rental Market (Measures to Facilitate Movement) Act 2015 came into effect. Others emphasize that the minister has indicated that this was however not the intent of the legislature. The Supreme Court has not decided on this subject yet
3. Tenancy agreement for a definite period of time of two years or less
You can also decide to use the agreement for a definite period of no longer than two years. (See article 7:271 paragraph 1 DCC). The tenancy agreement must then contain explicit provisions. Such as that the agreement is entered into for a definite period of time. In this case of two years or less in the sense of article 7:271 paragraph 1 DCC.
Article 7:271 paragraph 1 DCC allows you to rent out your house, without the tenant enjoying full rental protection. This means you are not bound by the termination grounds of article 7:274 DCC. Therefore, you can end the agreement by simple notification one to three months before the end of the tenancy agreement. The notification that the agreement will end on the agreed upon end date will then suffice.
It is not possible for you to terminate the agreement prematurely. If you notify your tenant in time, the agreement will end automatically. If you do not notify your tenant (on time), or if you extend or sign a new tenancy agreement with the same tenants, the agreement will automatically convert into an agreement for an indefinite period of time. In that event, the tenants will enjoy full security of tenure.
A tenant may terminate the agreement at any time and he can do so by simple letter notifying his landlord that he wants to terminate the agreement. Also, he has to comply with the notice period. This period is equal to the rent payment term (usually one month, maximum three months).
4. Tenancy agreement for a definite period of time of more than two years
Finally, you can choose to rent out your house for a definite period of time of more than two years. This agreement is much alike the agreement for an indefinite period of time. As a landlord you may only terminate the agreement on the basis of one of the termination grounds of article 7:274 DCC. If your tenant does not agree with the termination, the agreement does not end until the decision of the court to terminate the agreement is irrevocable. Also, both you and the tenant have to terminate the agreement by registered letter of bailiff’s writ and you both have to comply with the aforementioned notice period of (usually) one month, respectively three to six months. Then, the agreement will end automatically on the end date.
This tenancy agreement differs from a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period of time in the sense that neither the tenant nor you may terminate the agreement prematurely. Both parties have to wait until the agreed upon end date. If you and your tenant wish to extend the tenancy agreement, this extension will convert the agreement into an agreement for an indefinite period of time.
Get help with your tenancy agreement for a fixed fee
Summarizing, the type of tenancy agreement is guiding for the security of tenure. In addition, one can include specific clauses with regard to nuisance, commercial hemp cultivation or illegal subletting, especially seeing on termination because of breach of contract or penalty stipulation.
Finally, over the last years a lot of municipalities have drafted housing bylaw (in Dutch: ‘huisvestingsverordening’), seeing on housing permits, housing evaluation points (number of points scored in a housing evaluation system to determine the rent), or putting a maximum to the amounts of tenants per house in certain areas. It is important to draft or check clauses regarding these subjects as well, since revoking a housing permit will cause major consequences for both owner and tenant
GMW lawyers can review your tenancy agreement or specific clauses. They can also provide you with a general legal advice for a fixed fee of EUR 750 including office costs and VAT or draft a tenancy agreement for a fixed fee of EUR 1250 including office costs and VAT.
This written advice contains an overview of your legal rights and obligations regarding the tenancy agreement. In addition, we point out any risks (or red flags) and offer suggestions to alter clauses if necessary. Based on this advice, you can then decide whether you want to use the tenancy agreement you’ve drawn up. Or if you would like to add, alter of remove any clauses.
Our fixed fee package covers only the review and initial advice – but our support does not stop there.
If you need further legal advice about renting out your house, assistance with understanding your rights and obligations, if you have a dispute, or if you need additional help with a specific situation, our lawyers can continue to help you according to our hourly rates.
Please feel free to contact one of our specialists for more information or to request our fixed fee service.
Glenn works in the fields of property law and liability law, supporting both international and local clients. Within property law, he frequently assists in disputes between landlords and tenants. In his liability law practice, Glenn handles many personal injury claims and gives great attention to determining liability and preparing the statement of damage. Glenn offers substantial knowledge of the limiting effect of reasonable grounds and fairness on the statute of limitations.
Glenn distinguishes himself by his ability to quickly reach the heart of the matter, and for actively listening to his clients in order to fully understand their requirements.