What is the Rent Tribunal (Huurcommissie)?
The Rent Tribunal is an impartial organisation that helps tenants and landlords by providing information, conducting research, mediating in their conflicts or, if necessary, settling the conflict formally by making a ruling that is binding on both parties.
By providing information, the Rent Tribunal focuses on preventing conflicts between tenants and landlords. Should a tenant and their landlord fail to arrive at a solution that is acceptable to both parties, the Rent Tribunal will mediate by providing unbiased information. If this information does not solve the problem, the Tribunal may mediate or make a ruling that is binding on both parties by assessing the conflict for compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
The Rent Tribunal is a recognised body for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in accordance with the European Directive on consumer affairs. This situation means that the Rent Tribunal is independent and satisfies international quality requirements.
When can you turn to the Rent Tribunal?
Tenants and landlords can call on the Rent Tribunal if a tenant and landlord cannot agree on the rent, the maintenance, or the settlement of the service costs or the costs for the utilities, for instance.
The Rent Tribunal handles disputes about self-contained accommodation, rooms, caravans and caravan pitches. This process often involves social housing (that is, accommodation with a rental contract that has not been deregulated). In addition, the Rent Tribunal handles disputes about accommodation in the private sector (deregulated rental contract) if the tenant and landlord have reached agreement on this matter together.
Tenants and landlords can also visit www.huurcommissie.nl to check rent prices. When they do so, they can calculate the total number of points for the accommodation and the maximum rent for the accommodation.
When can’t you turn to the Rent Tribunal?
The Rent Tribunal does not make rulings on houseboats, commercial premises or holiday homes, for instance.
Submitting a request
A tenant or landlord can submit a request to the Rent Tribunal in order to obtain advice or a ruling on rent, maintenance, or service costs or costs for utilities. Details of how to submit a request can be found on the website.
Once the Rent Tribunal has received a request, a confirmation letter will be sent to the applicant. The Rent Tribunal will also send confirmation of receipt to the other party.
Payment of fees
Rent Tribunal procedures incur costs. The confirmation of receipt will contain information about paying these costs, which are known as administrative charges. As soon as the applicant has paid these fees, the Rent Tribunal will start processing the request.
The progress of a procedure
Once the request has been submitted and the fees have been paid, the Rent Tribunal gathers information. This process can involve an inspection inside the accommodation, or a verification whether the landlord has charged the correct amounts for service costs or other cost. If the accommodation is inspected, both parties will be notified by letter two weeks in advance. This letter will include the date and time at which the Rent Tribunal's inspector will inspect the accommodation. After this inspection, the Rent Tribunal will draw up a report of its findings. The tenant and the landlord are then invited to a meeting of the Rent Tribunal. They can respond to the report during this meeting.
After the meeting, the meeting committee takes a decision on the case. The Rent Tribunal sends the ruling to both parties by post, normally within six weeks of the meeting.
The language used by the Rent Tribunal is Dutch
The Rent Tribunal procedure is in Dutch, because it concerns very specific Dutch laws and regulations which are difficult to translate into other languages. Letters from the Rent Tribunal as well as communication from the Rent Tribunal to the landlords and tenants is also in Dutch. The mediation, the inspection inside the accommodation and the meeting are all in Dutch. If a party is not proficient in Dutch, they are allowed to arrange for an interpreter. This interpreter does not have to be officially sworn in. You are free to choose who accompanies you. For instance, you may be accompanied by a family member, friend or colleague.