A Student's Guide to Peaceful Contract Terminations

By Miruna on Tuesday 26 March 2024 at 19:45
A Student's Guide to Peaceful Contract Terminations

As an international student in the Netherlands, chances are you’ve found yourself navigating the maze of Dutch rental agreements. If you’re struggling right now, don’t worry! Whether you’re planning on moving out of Maastricht completely or simply moving accommodations, understanding the ins and outs of your rental contract can save you from potential headaches when terminating.

In the Netherlands, rental agreements are either made for a defined period or an undefined one.  The distinctions between these two are crucial for understanding the steps you need to take to cancel your contract. 

There is a third option, but it is not an ideal situation. This is a short-stay type of contract. This is very different from the other two contracts and is not generally recommended by legal professionals. 


These are the kinds of contracts where there’s a possibility of a  minimum period (for example 12 months) mentioned. During this period, ending your rental agreement isn’t straightforward unless your landlord is feeling generous. They might let you off the hook if you agree to certain conditions, such as coughing up an extra month’s rent or finding someone to take over your lease, but it’s never guaranteed. However, as soon as you’ve hit the end of your minimum period, you can leave seamlessly as long as you’ve provided proper notice. 

The upside of this type of contract? Your landlord can’t kick you out on a whim. They need a valid legal reason to end your lease, providing you with a layer of security and some peace of mind.


These contracts clearly state an end date, which is most often 12 months, so you know exactly when the agreement begins and when they’re supposed to finish. If you signed this sort of contract, you can leave early as long as you give the proper heads-up. 

However, the catch is that your landlord has an easy out once the contract reaches its natural end. They only need to remind you 1 to 3 months in advance that your time is up, no hard feelings or legal reasons are required. 

Did you forget to move out after your contract ended? Congrats, you’ve now entered the realm of undefined period contracts without even signing anything new. However, a little piece of advice.. do not sign a new contract during this time because the old one is still valid. 

But how do you actually go about terminating your contract given that your situation does allow it?

So, you’ve decided it’s time to part ways with your current accommodation. If you’re lucky, your contract will spell out exactly how to give your notice. This could either be through an agency’s contact form or a direct email. If your contract doesn’t say anything about this, the fail-safe method is to send a letter via registered post. You can shoot an email first as a heads-up, but if no  response is received, make sure to follow up with a letter. This way, you’ll ensure having proof of your intent to terminate the contract.

The finishing touch to making contract terminations go smoothly is to give your notice in the right time frame! This is usually equivalent to your payment term. As an example, if you pay rent monthly, then you’ll need to give a full month’s notice. The main aim is to make sure your landlord receives this notice before the start of the final month. Keep in mind the normal end date is always the end of the month, not halfway through.

Understanding your rental agreement can seem as tricky as learning Dutch, but it’s truly not that difficult if you do your homework properly. Whether it’s a quick fling or a long-term commitment to your Dutch home, knowing these rules can ensure that your departure is as enjoyable as your arrival. Happy house hunting 😉

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