Vacancy is a hot topic in The Netherlands. Millions of square meters of (retail) business premises and office space remain empty. At GMW lawyers we realise that clients suffer the consequences of this vacancy firsthand. A quick sale or lease of commercial real estate is no longer self-evident.

Investors and home owners

This also applies to real estate investors in homes and to home owners. They are painfully aware that the time required for sale has increased and homes that stand empty are no longer an exception. The consequence of the absence of a buyer or a new tenant is that the (residential and commercial) buildings sometimes remain empty for months vulnerable to becoming run down and to squatters.

Vacancy managers

In contrast, vacancy managers, a profession that we count among our clientele, have no complaints as to work. Increasing numbers of property owners opt to have their vacant property looked after by a vacancy manager. Vacancy managers conclude occupancy agreements or temporarily rent out the premises based on the Vacant Property Act. The team at GMW lawyers assists vacancy managers with legal advice as to the appropriate contracts as well as with proceedings to evacuate (temporary) tenants who have breached their contract.


The Vacant Property Act is important for combating vacancy. In addition to a general ban on squatting, this act is also aimed at providing municipalities with more options to avoid vacancy. The Vacant Property Act has been modified at various points in recent years. One of the changes concerns the possibility of temporary rental by (private) homeowners. This does not apply to all homeowners, but to certain categories listed in the Vacant Property Act. The houses can be temporarily rented out by the private homeowner based on the Vacant Property Act so that a number of rent control provisions do not apply.

We advise extensively on the possibilities of the Vacant Property Act and our lawyers closely monitor the latest legislative changes in the area of vacancy. They are also familiar with the necessary licence procedures for temporary lease based on the Vacancy Property Act.


Longer periods of vacancy can give rise to squatting. Squatting is not only something from the past. The changes in the Vacant Property Act and the codes of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure did not change all that. If a property is squatted then the owner can report this to the police where after the police and the Public Prosecution decide if and when the property is to be vacated. Clients may, however, have legitimate reasons (urgent interests or to limit the damage) not to wait for the enforcement by the police and judiciary authorities.

We often recommend our clients to initiate a (civil) summary proceeding to seek eviction of persons residing in their property without proper right or title. GMW lawyers has extensive experience with such proceedings.


A good and timely advice as to the legal bottlenecks of vacancy is imperative. What should be included in a contract, what are the possibilities within the Vacant Property Act and which type of contract best suits your situation? It is important to know what steps can be taken if your property is invaded. GMW lawyers can provide you with thorough legal advice at any stage of the vacancy and if necessary, litigate on your behalf.

Further information

For more information, please contact our Real Estate & Tenancy department.

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