On top of the basic rent, many tenants pay additional costs that are not covered by the basic rent. Such costs, often indicated as ‘service costs’, can include furniture, utilities like gas, water, electricity or other services. These costs are also strictly regulated in the Netherlands, even if the apartment belongs to the ‘liberalised sector’. Many tenants are not aware of this and therefore get overcharged for these items.
Service costs for items such as utilities (gas, water and electricity), furnishings, cleaning costs and administrative costs are legally considered as advance payments. This means that, at the end of each calendar-year, these advance payments should be balanced with the actual costs (and provided to the tenant). For instance, tenants can only be charged annually a maximum of 20 percent of the purchase price of furniture. Furthermore, tenants only need to pay this amount for goods which are not older than five years. For goods older than five years, the maximum charge is 20 percent of their second-hand value.
For example: 2 students share a washing machine. The new price is € 600,00. The service costs for the washing machine is calculated per month, per person: €600 / 60 months / 2 persons: €5,00 per month.
At the end of each year the landlord must provide an annual final calculation for the service costs.