The Hague to tackle bad landlords with permit obligation
The municipality of The Hague is introducing a mandatory rental permit to tackle bad landlords faster. To obtain a rental permit, the landlord must meet several conditions, including a proper rental contract, a maintenance plan for the dwelling, and the rent must correspond to the rent check, Omroep West reports.
“Too often we see that landlords make a mess of things and treat their tenants badly,” housing alderman Martijn Balster (PvdA) said. The permit obligation is how the municipality uses the new Good Landlordship Law, which will be implemented on July 1. It gives the municipality more opportunity to intervene when things go wrong. Landlords that don’t meet the permit requirements can face fines of up to tens of thousands of euros.
“With the new law, we can take much stronger action everywhere in the city. That is badly needed,” Balster told the broadcaster. “Bad landlordship not only affects the individual tenants but also reduces the quality of life in the neighborhoods.” According to him, the rental permit enables the municipality to tackle issues “in neighborhoods where bad landlord practices seriously affect the quality of life” in a very targeted manner.
A study in 2022 showed that there were a lot of problems in The Hague’s private rental market. Private landlords almost always use temporary leases, making tenants afraid to report abuses because they may be evicted. The rent is structurally too high. The researchers found poor maintenance in 15,000 homes, with 30 percent of tenants reporting their landlords dragging their feet when it came to repairs. They also found discrimination - home seekers with a non-Western name and from the LGBTQIA+ community had a harder time finding a home.
The compulsory permit will first be implemented in neighborhoods with the worst landlord-related problems - four parts of the Transvaal and Laak districts. The permit requirement will take effect on September 1, after which landlords will have until March to get everything in order. More neighborhoods will follow shortly.
From March, the city’s building brigade will start inspecting private rentals, ensuring landlords comply with the rules. They will also check rents for the first time. Landlords caught charging too high rents could face fines of up to 80,000 euros.
The Hague also set up a reporting and support center where tenants can report abuses.