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Can my landlord withhold my deposit?

How are the legal rigths for claiming back the deposit in rental cases in the Netherlands?

Most tenants pay a deposit ( a maximum of 2 months rent is allowed ) to the landlord when entering into a rental agreement. You must get this deposit back witin 14 days after the end of the rental agreement. Important exceptions: you still owe rent or service costs to the landlord, or you have damaged the rented property or changed it without the landlord's permission.
If those exceptions do not apply in your case, the landlord may not withhold the deposit.

Can my landlord withhold my deposit

Landlord does not refund deposit

If you have terminated the rent with due observance of the notice period, you are entitled to a refund of the deposit if the landlord has nothing more to claim from you. The deposit must then be refunded after the end of the rental agreement. Usually it is included in the lease that repayment must take place within 1 month after the end of the lease. If nothing is stipulated in the contract, you could, for example, assume a repayment term of 2 weeks.

Unfortunately, our lawyers and lawyers regularly notice that landlords do not repay the deposit. Sometimes they have good reasons for doing so, but often they don't. What about legal?


The recording statement at the start of the rental agreement

In many cases, a so-called 'recording statement' ( 'opnamestaat' in Dutch ) is made before or when entering into a rental agreement. The recording status describes the condition of the home or business space at the start of the lease. This recording condition is usually accompanied by photos that show the condition of the rented property.

In principle, the home or business premises must be returned in the same condition as stated in the registration statement after the lease has expired.

If no recording state has been created

If no recording statement was made at the start of the tenancy agreement, then the landlord has a problem. He must then prove that the state at the end of the lease is different from that at the start of the lease. It will be clear that this proof is difficult or impossible to provide without a pre-recording statement. In such situations, you are almost always entitled to a refund of the deposit.

What damage is the landlord allowed to set off against the deposit according to Dutch law?

If the tenant has used the rented property carelessly, causing damage to the rented property, the landlord may set off that damage against the deposit.
Please note: the renter is not liable for normal signs of use ( tear and wear ). . So the lessor may not charge for wear and tear caused by normal use. Consider, for example, light scratches. The tenant is also not liable for matters that fall under the usual landlord maintenance. Consider, for example, the replacement or repair of sanitary facilities and the central heating system.

What are signs of use, what is 'tear and wear'?

There is no legal definition of traces of use ( tear and wear).. It is therefore not always clear whether something should be qualified as signs of use. In general you can say that damage that could have been prevented does not fall under traces of use. You can then think of:

Countertop damage from hot pans. If the counter has burn marks because the tenant has put hot pans on it without a coaster, then this is not a damage from use.
Affected materials. If a tenant uses too aggressive cleaning agents that affect the plumbing or other parts of the home, there will be no signs of use.
Damaged floors. Dents or small scratches in the floor will often be signs of use. But deep scratches and dents could have been prevented by placing felt pads under the furniture. In that case, there are no signs of use.
Holes in the wall. You will have to repair holes in the wall that you have made yourself. This therefore does not fall under traces of use.

Right to self-repair

Usually an inspection report will be drawn up at or towards the end of the lease agreement about the condition of the leased property. If the landlord finds defects for which the tenant is responsible, he must give the tenant the opportunity to repair the defects himself. If the tenant then repairs the defects properly, the lessor has nothing more to claim from the tenant with regard to those defects. In the event that the tenant does not take the opportunity to repair the defects, the lessor may have the defects repaired by a contractor or handyman and set off the costs thereof against the deposit.
Please note: the landlord regularly fails to give the tenant the opportunity to repair defects himself. In those cases, the lessor may only claim the material costs for repairing the defect and therefore no labor costs!

How do I get my deposit back? A step-by-step plan

1. As a tenant, make sure that you cancel the rental agreement in a timely and provable manner (notice!).
2. Make an appointment with the landlord for an inspection of the home or business space.
3. Record any defects together with your landlord and agree on a term within which you will repair them.
4. Repair the defects within the stipulated period.
5. Report the recovery in writing and request a refund of the deposit.
6 If the landlord does not pay the deposit, send a notice of default.

A notice of default is, as it were, a last written reminder, in which your landlord sets a term to repay the deposit. Usually this is fourteen days. You also indicate that you will take further steps if the landlord continues to refuse to refund the deposit.
If the landlord does not repay the deposit, engage our lawyers. You can also order a sample summons from us to reclaim your deposit. With the summons you can submit the case to the subdistrict court.

Example letter claiming your deposit

it is often necessary to send the landlord a legally correct letter to refund your deposit. You can order a good sample deposit refund letter from us below. The letter complies to Dutch Law.



Need advice or legal assistance?

Does your landlord refuse to repay the deposit and you do not agree? Call our rental specialists on 020 6890 863 or email.
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