23 April 2020
Prior to the corona crisis, Dutch tenancy law did not in principle offer landlords of residential properties the opportunity to extend a fixed-term (temporary) lease without this being legally regarded as a lease for an indefinite period.
With the emergency law “Tijdelijke wet verlenging tijdelijke huurovereenkomsten” (hereinafter: “The Emergency Act”), the Cabinet ensures that the landlord and tenant can extend a temporary lease in the corona era without far-reaching consequences.
The Emergency Act was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives on April 16, 2020. In this blog, I will discuss the main points of attention for this law.
Since the introduction of the Rental Market Act on July 1, 2016, a new type of lease for housing can be concluded. This is a lease that is entered into for a fixed period of less than two years. In the case of room rental, this concerns a maximum period of five years.
The landlord can terminate the lease by informing the tenant in writing of the impending termination one to three months before the end date. There is therefore no cancellation or recourse to the legal grounds for cancellation. On the other hand, the tenant also has the right to terminate the lease prematurely.
If the landlord informs the tenant incorrectly, too late or too early, or if a new lease is subsequently entered into with the same tenant, this lease will automatically be considered an indefinite lease. In that case, the rented person has extensive rent protection and other rules regarding termination apply. Under current law, if a landlord agrees to temporarily renew the lease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a landlord would be directly tied to an indefinite lease and a tenant who enjoys maximum rental protection. The Emergency Act offers a solution.
The Emergency Act applies to temporary rental agreements of less than two years (regular living space) / five years (room rental), the rental period of which in principle expires after March 31, 2020 and before July 1, 2020. Under the Emergency Act, there are several applicable scenarios, depending on when the landlord informs the tenant.
The landlord can also refuse the tenant’s request for an extension if the tenant has not behaved as a good tenant;
Pursuant to Article 7 of the Emergency Act, it can be decided that the Emergency Act also applies to the period after 1 September 2020, so that even lease agreements that have already been extended can then be extended once more.
The diagram below is included for clarification.
Source: Parliamentary Papers II, 2019/20, 35431, no.3, p. 6.
We would like to point out that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only a limited number of (urgent) cases will be handled by the courts and, in principle, no evacuation will take place before 1 June 2020. This means that even if a lease has been legally terminated, it remains to be seen whether the house can be evacuated.
If you have any questions regarding this weblog, I will be happy to advise you.
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