Terminating a contract can be a tricky process with lots of rules surrounding it.
In the Netherlands, mostly 2 types of rental agreements are used. A contract for a defined period and a contract for an undefined period. It is very useful to know which one you have, because it could make a difference when you want to end your contract.
Contract for an undefined period
In this type of contract, a minimum period (for example 12 months) is allowed. During this minimum period, you cannot end your contract, unless the landlord agrees. The landlord can set conditions to agree, for example pay an extra month’s rent, or find a new person for the contract. After the minimum period you can end the contract with the correct notice period.
The benefit of this type of contract is that the landlord cannot end your contract easily. There need to be legal reasons.
Contract for a defined period
In this type of contract (most often a 12 months contract) there is a date the contract begins and a date the contract ends. This contract cannot have a minimum period and therefore you can end the contract during the defined period as long as you give correct notice.
The downside is that the landlord has an easy way to terminate your contract on the end date of the defined period. The landlord only needs to let you know 1 to 3 months before the end date that the contract is going to end, they do not need legal reasons to end the contract on that date. If the landlord does not remind the tenant of the end date and the tenant lives longer than the defined period of time, the contract automatically turns into a contract for an undefined period. You do not need a new contract for that, the old contract automatically changes and the rest of the contract stays valid.
If you want to terminate your contract as a tenant, often the contract lets you know how to give correct notice. This can be a contact form via a website of an agency, or an email to the landlord/agency. If the contract does not mention how to give notice, the correct way to end the contract is sending a letter via registered post, stating that you want to end the rental agreement per that date. You could also email the letter first, but if you do not receive a response, you should still send the letter via registered post to be sure.
You still have to deal with a correct notice period when cancelling your rent. Normally, the notice equals the term of payment, which has been written down in the contract. For example, if you pay rent monthly, you have to give one month’s notice. Unless differently stated in the rental agreement, the cancellation of the rent needs to be received by the landlord before the first day of the month.