Your Dutch landlord may be overcharging you for service costs: here’s what you can do about it

Suspicious "services" and costly "cleaning" 🤔

Did you know some Dutch landlords have magic powers? They can turn a few vague words into stacks of cash! It’s all in the sleight of hand, or, rather, sneaking extra “service costs” into rental contracts. 

New research from NOS op 3 reveals that many large private landlords in the Netherlands are overcharging for made-up services, despite the Rent Assessment Committee (RAC) continually calling them out on it.

READ MORE | Renting in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

What this means is that you need to:  

  • Be vigilant for potential surcharge scams, 
  • Seek professional help from the likes of the RAC if you believe you’re overpaying for service costs.

🚩 Red flags to watch out for

So, how do you know if you’re overpaying? 

Tenants should receive an overview of service costs annually from their landlords, including any extra costs they may have to pay or potentially claim back.

If you don’t receive this annual overview, your rental contract should contain a list of the services you are paying towards each month. 

These should only include charges related to the home that fall outside the basic rent, such as for cleaning services.

But as the research shows, landlords like to sneak in some unfair charges here. Such as:

  • Municipal taxes 
  • Fees for access to public green spaces 
  • Super inflated fees for cleaning, caretaking or repairs to the building 

Important note: Taxes of any kind should not be counted as service costs.

The landlord asked me 8,000 for repair fee
byu/gracehuangggg inNetherlands

These charges are easier to sneak into basic one-version-for-all contracts that are common in most shared accommodations. So students, beware.

Case in point: Xior Student Housing, Plaza Resident Services, and Change=, are responsible for a large portion of student and starter homes in the Netherlands.

They were also found to be three major culprits in overcharging their tenants.

READ MORE | Housing & rental scams in the Netherlands: the ultimate red flag guide

🤝 Where to find help

If you think you are overpaying for service costs, there are multiple resources available to help you. Oh, and the law is on your side too.

1. Rent Assessment Committee

As mentioned before, the RAC files cases and makes statements on behalf of tenants suspecting that they were overcharged for service costs.

And they’re doing great work — across 5595 complaints made to the RAC regarding service costs since 2019, NOS found that the tenant was in favour in almost 4000 cases.

Just to put those 4000 injustices into perspective: the average surcharge for additional costs per year amounted to €743. 🤯

READ MORE | Here’s how to check if you’re paying too much rent in the Netherlands (and how you can reduce it)

2. The Good Landlordship Act (Wet goed verhuurderschap)

Since its introduction in July last year, the Good Landlordship Act has clamped down on repeat offenders who overcharge tenants again and again. 

The law makes it clear that the landlord cannot profit from service costs, and must only charge for the cost actually incurred by these services.

The Good Landlordship Act also enables municipalities to impose fines on landlords based on the information tenants submit to their reporting points.

3. !WOON Foundation

Representing tenants in and around Amsterdam, the !WOON Foundation assists with issues regarding rental prices, service costs and more.

“Landlords will say that it is not a revenue model, but we dispute that in a number of cases,” a !WOON spokesperson tells NOS. 

Sneaky profiteering tactics, be gone! 

Have you had experience with landlords overcharging for supposed “service costs”? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image:Freepik
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills — she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.


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