Rights and obligations for tenants and landlords

Tenant’s duties (landlord’s rights)

Minor repairs

According to Dutch law, if something is classified as a ‘minor repair’, it falls to the tenant to take care of at their own expense. Only if the damage was caused by the landlord failing to meet their obligations it is their responsibility to pay. The government (Rijksoverheid) explains the repairs that are considered minor. You can find them here (website in Dutch but you can use Google translate)

However, a tenant is not expected to shoulder any unreasonable or overly burdensome costs when repairing – these should be taken care of by the landlord. Here you can see what you as a tenant are expected to repair. 

Lastly, it is possible for the landlord and tenant to agree that the landlord will take on any minor repairs, and pass on the costs to the tenant under ‘service charges’ – check for this in your contract!

If there is damage that would require a non-minor repair, the tenant has the obligation to inform the landlord in writing (preferably by email) immediately. If the landlord is not informed and the damage expands, the tenant is liable for the extra damage that occurs because of not informing the landlord as soon as possible.  

Improper use

If, as a result of a tenant’s improper use of the accommodation, damage is caused to the rented property, a landlord cannot be expected to pay for repairing this damage. Even if the repair is not ‘minor’, a tenant is expected to fix the damage, as it was caused by their own negligence and unreasonable behaviour.

This is why it is a good idea to take out liability insurance (WA insurance), which protects you from any financial claims that may result from accidents that have led to damage and / or injuries – in other words, your insurance will pay for any damage to the property caused by you. Banks will often give you the option to take out such insurances with them. Check out the student insurance packages of different providers such as ING or ABN Amro. 

Allowing the landlord entry

Tenants are also under an obligation to allow landlords to enter their accommodation in order to carry out any necessary repairs – the right of the landlord to enter your rented property] is not absolute, and they must also obey rules regarding this (see below).

Good tenant conduct

Tenants must comply with legal requirements and behave in a manner befitting a proper and decent tenant. When renting a room in a student house, a tenant may be subject to rules and regulations that differ compared to renting a self-contained apartment or studio. Good tenant conduct, in any case, includes using the property in accordance with its intended purpose, without causing inconvenience to the landlord or third parties. In addition, the (timely) payment of the rent is seen as a characteristic of good tenant conduct. If the tenant does not behave in a manner befitting a good tenant, the landlord may request the court to terminate the tenancy contract – this only happens in very serious cases, though.

Good tenant conduct includes:

  • Ensuring the accommodation is free from damage
  • Ensuring the landlord does not suffer any losses (e.g. loss of rent resulting from the tenant’s behaviour)
  • Informing the landlord if any damage to the property occurs as soon as possible
  • Ensure damage to environment and local residents (e.g. noise nuisances) is prevented – for example, not being a noise nuisance, taking out your garbage at the correct times, and not leaving your bike in the middle of the hallway or entrance

Tenants are also liable for any damage to the property caused by their guests.

Tenant’s rights (landlord’s duties)

As a tenant, you have a right to the ‘quiet enjoyment of your accommodation’ – it is thus your landlord’s duty to provide for and facilitate this enjoyment, within the limits of what a tenant may reasonably expect.

Some things, like noise nuisances caused by neighbours, are out of the landlord’s control, and so do not fall under their duties (unless the nuisance comes from neighbours renting from the same landlord).

Good Landlordship Act

The Good Landlordship Act (Wet Goed Verhuurderschap) is a regulation, which enables tenants to report landlords, who violate the rules set out in the act. If a landlord fails to comply with the rules, the municipality can give them a warning or a fine.

The 7 rules of good landlordship:

  1. The landlord may not discriminate against people who are searching for a rental property.
  2. The landlord may not threaten or scare the tenant.
  3. The landlord may charge a maximum deposit of 2 months’ basic rent.
  4. The landlord must provide a written tenancy agreement.
  5. The landlord must provide the tenant with clear information about:
    • the rights and duties of the tenant, if they have not been included in the tenancy agreement
    • the amount of the deposit and the date when the tenant will get the deposit back after termination of the tenancy agreement
    • the landlord’s contact details
    • contact details of the Meldpunt goed verhuurderschap Maastricht (municipal reporting centre for problems with landlords): meldpunt@goedverhuurderschapmaastricht.nl
    • service costs: a full breakdown of the costs
  6. The landlord may only charge service costs that comply with the legal rules.
  7. The letting agency may not charge the tenant any mediation fees.

If you are in the unfortunate situation that your landlord is not abiding to the rules, you can contact the municipality. The contact information and more information about the act can be found here.


In the case of a defect that falls under the landlord’s duty to repair, tenants must notify their landlord of this in writing. In their turn, landlords must fix the defect within a reasonable time (with a maximum of six weeks) after receiving the tenant’s written notification. If the six weeks pass, tenants should contact the Huurteam Zuid-Limburg (HTZL), and you may be able to get a temporary reduction in rent.

Landlord entering the dwelling

Your landlord has a right to enter your residence when this is required to make any repairs. However, they cannot do so without your permission – the landlord is absolutely subject to the tenant’s consent in order to enter their rented property. Thus, your landlord must ask you whenever they are planning on carrying out any repairs in your accommodation. It is your right to ask them to do it at another time. Urgent repairs are an exception to this. You cannot refuse urgent repairs, or you might be liable for the damage that occurs because of your refusal. 

If you live in student housing and share common areas (e.g. bathrooms, kitchen, etc.), the landlord also needs to ask for permission – or at least provide prior notification – in order to enter these.

If you do not grant your landlord permission to enter and they do so anyways, this could constitute a grave offence. You should contact the Huurteam Zuid-Limburg if this is the case, as your landlord is trespassing.

Alterations to the rented property by the tenant

Tenants are only allowed to make changes to the accommodation, if these are not permanent and can be easily undone after the tenant leaves the residence. If you wish to make more substantial changes, you should always ask for your landlord’s permission to do so.

Any alterations you make cannot damage the rentability of the property, or cause a decrease in its value. As a general rule, you’ll need your landlord’s permission for larger alterations (those that cannot be easily undone). Small alterations, like drilling holes do not usually require permission. However you need to be aware that when you leave, you need to fill the holes and maybe paint the walls if the holes are still visible after filling them up. The holes need to be completely undone.

Copying your key

As a tenant, you are allowed to make a copy of the key to your accommodation. Whether this is physically possible is a different question, though, as some keys are very hard and very expensive to copy. Nevertheless, it is within your rights to do so if you wish.

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