Many apartments that are rented out to expats or students are found via agencies. A lot of tenants paid a fee to an agent. According Dutch law in most cases this is not permitted.
The highest civil court in the country decided that if a house is advertised by an agency there is the assumption that the agency is working for the landlord. Because there is a conflict of interest, between the landlord and the tenant, the agency can not represent both parties and it is not allowed to ask for an agency fee. If you already paid you can claim a refund.
Since the 1st of July 2016 it is also not allowed to ask for an agency fee for rooms and therefore you can also claim back the agency fee if you paid for a room.
Sometimes agencies refer to an agency fee as contract costs, administration costs, administration fees, etc. This is also not allowed and you can claim back these costs.
This means that if you rented the apartment through an agency, you can start a process against the agency if they are working for the landlord and advertised the apartment or room. First, write a letter to the agency. This letter needs to include the following information:
- The agency was working for the landlord and therefore you were not obliged to pay an agency fee.
- You want a refund within two weeks of the date on your letter.
- If the agency does not comply you can start legal procedures, taking the matter to court.
You can get more advice on tackling agency issues here, or you can get in touch with the Juridisch Locket for legal counseling.