There are three main categories of residential tenancy agreement:
- Tenancy agreements for an indefinite period
- Fixed-term tenancy agreements shorter than two years
- Fixed-term tenancy agreements longer than two years
In addition, there are less frequently used tenancy agreements. Consider, for example, room and landlady rental. These categories are not discussed here.
1. Tenancy agreement for an indefinite term
In practice, many leases are entered into for an indefinite period of time. The landlord and tenant often agree that both parties cannot prematurely terminate the lease for a certain period. In that case, there is a lease for an indefinite period with a minimum lease term of, for example, one or two years. With such a lease, the lessor has the certainty that the lessee cannot terminate the lease during the agreed minimum lease term.
The landlord may only terminate a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period on the basis of one of the statutory grounds for termination from Article 7:274 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code. The notice period for a landlord is at least three months. Every year that a tenant rents the house, the notice period is extended by one month. The notice period is a maximum of six months. To illustrate: if a tenant has lived in the house for two years, the notice period for the landlord is 3 + 2 = 5 months.
A tenant can also terminate a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period. A tenant has no legal obligation for this need for termination. The notice period for the tenant is equal to the period between two payment days, but a maximum of three months. In practice, this usually means that the notice period for the tenant is one month.
New owner of the rented property
A new owner must also terminate the lease if they want to end the tenancy agreement. The lease does not end when the house is sold (“purchase does not break rent”). The new owner will continue the existing lease. If the new owner wants to terminate the tenancy agreement, they are bound by the statutory rules for termination. Please note: a new owner who wants to use the house themselves (“urgent own use”) can only terminate the lease three years after they have notified the tenant in writing that they are the new owner.
2. Fixed-term tenancy agreement shorter than two years
Since the implementation of the Property Rental Market (Measures to Facilitate Movement) Act on 1 July 2016, it is possible to enter into a rental agreement for a maximum of two years or less. This must be stated clearly and unambiguously in the relevant tenancy agreement. The article of the law (Article 7:271 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code) must also be included in the tenancy agreement. In that case, the tenant has no rent protection. This means that the landlord does not have to rely on at least one of the statutory grounds for termination. If a tenancy agreement was concluded before 1 July 2016, it does not fall under the new rental legislation. The closing date of the contract is decisive, not the commencement date.
Please note: housing associations may only offer specific tenants a fixed-term lease of less than two years for homes with a social rent. Think, for example, of emergency shelter and replacement accommodation. Housing associations are allowed to conclude such leases for homes in the free sector.
This category of tenancy agreements automatically ends after the agreed rental period. Please note: the landlord must inform the tenant in writing about the (approaching) end of the lease.
The landlord cannot prematurely terminate a fixed-term tenancy agreement of less than two years. A tenant can. A notice period equal to the payment term applies to the tenant.
A fixed-term tenancy agreement can be extended. In that case, the tenancy agreement automatically changes into a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period. This is also the case if the first term was less than two years.
3. Fixed-term tenancy agreement longer than two years
If a fixed-term tenancy agreement with a lease term of more than two years is entered into, different rules apply. This type of tenancy agreement is very similar to an indefinite lease.
Neither the landlord nor the tenant can terminate prematurely. The lessor can only terminate the tenancy agreement after the agreed rental period by invoking a legal ground for termination (Article 7:274 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Civil Code).
The tenancy agreement for a definite period of more than two years can be extended. In that case, the tenancy agreement changes into a tenancy agreement for an indefinite period.
If you have a question or require more information about tenancy agreements, please visit our Property and Tenancy law section, or contact our experts for assistance.