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Rental Property Defects: Know Your Rights in the Netherlands

"If there are 'defects' in the property you have rented, you, as a tenant, can demand that these defects be rectified by your landlord. This legal rule has the following exceptions:

• Rectifying the defects is impossible, or the expenses for doing so are so high that it cannot reasonably be expected from the landlord.
• If you, as a tenant, have caused the defect yourself.
• It concerns minor repairs, such as replacing sockets and faucets, which are the responsibility of the tenant.
• If the rental agreement deviates from this legal regulation.

What are defects?

defects house lawyer sollicitor netherlands flaws

Important in all of this is what is meant by the term 'defect.'
In simple terms, anything that deviates from what you could expect when entering into the rental agreement and causes a loss of enjoyment of the rental property is considered a defect.
Defects can include, for example: structural defects, pests, a leaky roof, poor maintenance, severe drafts, moisture and mold formation, the inability to obtain an operating permit due to the lack of an emergency exit, a poorly maintained interior courtyard of a shopping center, and disturbances.
As mentioned above, in a commercial property lease, it is possible to deviate from the legal regulation. Most landlords will include provisions, for example, in the general rental conditions, stating that the obligation to repair defects does not apply to all defects. However, such a deviation from the legal rules is not allowed if the landlord was aware of or should have been aware of these defects when entering into the rental agreement.


Can you, as a tenant, remedy the defects for which the landlord has an obligation to repair, or have them remedied if the landlord does not?
Under rental law, you, as a tenant, can remedy the defects yourself and recover the reasonable costs incurred from the landlord, deducting these costs from the rent if they are reasonable. However, the landlord must first be in default. Therefore, as a tenant, it is advisable to first send the landlord a 'registered' letter, setting a deadline for rectifying the defect. In the event that the landlord does not rectify the defect within the reasonable stipulated period, they are in default.

Obligation to compensate for damages

If there is a defect, it can also result in damages to the tenant. For example, your inventory and business inventory may be damaged due to leakage, or you may have had to close your business for some time, resulting in loss of profit. In these cases, the landlord is also liable for the so-called consequential damages in the following cases:

1. The defect occurred after the conclusion of the lease agreement and can be attributed to the landlord (think, for example, of water damage due to deferred maintenance).
2. If the defect was already present at the time of entering into the lease agreement, and the landlord knew or should have known about it.
3. If the landlord informed the tenant at the time of entering into the lease agreement that the property did not have the defect.
However, if, for example, the roof of the rented property is blown off during a severe storm, this cannot be attributed to the landlord, and therefore, consequential damages cannot be claimed from them. The landlord can invoke 'force majeure' in such cases. However, they cannot do so if the detachment of the roof is largely caused by poor roof maintenance.

The aforementioned legal obligation to compensate for damages can also be deviated from in the lease agreement, which, as you may not be surprised to hear, often happens in favor of the landlord. Deviation is not possible, however, if the landlord knew or should have known about the defects at the time of entering into the lease agreement.
A landlord's claim to exclusion of liability for damages sometimes fails even if they fail to rectify a defect for which they are responsible.

Rent reduction in case of defects

In the event that you, as a tenant, have reduced enjoyment of the property due to a defect for which the landlord is responsible, you can request a proportional reduction in the rent from the court. The reduced rent can be claimed from the day the landlord was sufficiently aware of the defect and can last until the defect is rectified. Therefore, it is advisable to inform your landlord of the defect as soon as possible by registered letter.

For information on liability for defects in a purchased house or commercial property, click on: liability for hidden defects or hidden defects in a house, or click for legal assistance from lawyers and legal experts in hidden defects in a house.

Sample demand letter for repair of rental property defects

A first important step in getting the defects in your rental property repaired is sending a legally correct demand letter to your landlord. Our legal experts have prepared the right model letter for this purpose, which you can order below.


It may be that the landlord proposes a renovation due to aging or defects in the property. This could involve significant renovations, but also, for example, the installation of high-efficiency glass or solar panels, or a rooftop terrace. Read more about your rights and obligations in such cases on our renovation webpage.

Sample lease termination agreement
It may be that you do not want to argue or litigate with your landlord over the defects in the rental property, but prefer to terminate the lease agreement. In that case, you can order a legally correct lease termination agreement from us. You can order the model agreement by clicking on: sample lease termination agreement.

Conclusion and legal assistance in case of defects

If your landlord refuses to repair a defect, send them a registered letter. Demand that they rectify the defect as soon as possible. If your landlord refuses to carry out a repair, you can threaten to have the repair done yourself and deduct the costs from the rent. You can also threaten to claim compensation for damages and rent reduction.
Recht & Raad can provide you with legal assistance in such matters and all your rental law issues. We provide legal assistance to entrepreneurs and private individuals. Call us directly at 020 6890863 or email us."
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