Many landlords illegally use long notice periods in temporary rental contracts
Landlords widely use invalid notice periods in temporary lease contracts, the Volkskrant reported based on an inventory of more than 300 tenants in temporary homes. In around 100 of the contracts, landlords required new tenants to pay a minimum of six- or twelve months’ rent, even if they wanted to move out early.
“We see such clauses regularly”, lawyer Robbert Knegtering said. “This is simply not allowed and is therefore void.”
The tenant does not have to comply with such a clause and can terminate the contract with one month’s notice, senior lecturer in tenancy law Jaap Dammingh told the Volkskrant.
Tenancy law can be very complex and many tenants are not aware of their rights, according to Knegtering. Some landlords do not clearly indicate what type of contract the tenant is signing and thereby breed confusion. “They use terms interchangeably so that is unclear whether it is a temporary contract or, for example, a minimum contract. This way they can take the stance that suits them best.”
Some people may accept a dubious rental contract out of fear they will otherwise not get the apartment or house.
“You are only seen by the landlord as a wallet. And the government leaves you in the dark and says: too bad, we leave you to the slum landlords”, an anonymous 23-year-old who was wrapped up in such an illegal contract said.
In 2016, it became legal to temporarily rent out a home for a period of 24 months. Certain tenants have legally fought to change their contract into one with an indefinite period due to the long notice period. The contract cannot be considered temporary with such a long notice, according to the court.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times