Social rent or free sector
It is important to always check first whether you are renting “social” or “free sector” housing. This makes a difference to the rules that apply to rent increases. Of importance here is the rent you paid when you started renting. On this webpage of the central government you can find a handy check which you can use to find out whether it is a social or free sector rent.
Incidentally, tenants renting from a housing corporation in 2023 are entitled to a one-time rent reduction. For more information on this, see an earlier article of ours on this webpage.
As of July 1, 2023, landlords may increase the rent by no more than:
- a maximum of 3.1% (for bare rent of € 300 or more per month)
- a maximum of € 25 (for basic rent lower than € 300 per month)
What is further important is that when a tenant has an upper middle or high income, the landlord may propose more rent increases. For more information on this, see this webpage from the Woonbond.
This applies to renting self-contained housing. If you are not sure whether you rent dependent or independent accommodation, you may want to check this web page.
This year, the maximum percentage of 3.1% also applies to renting non-self-contained housing, such as room rentals.
You can object to a proposed rent increase for social housing in the following cases:
- The landlord has announced the rent increase too late. You must have received the letter about the rent increase at least 2 months before the effective date.
Does the rent increase take effect on July 1, 2023? Then you must have received the letter on or before April 30.
- There are errors in the rent increase letter. For example, too high a percentage, an incorrect effective date or an incorrect bare rent.
- You have asked the Rent Commission to lower the rent for (maintenance) defects or the rent has already been lowered for that reason.
- The new rent is higher than the maximum rent according to the property’s point score.
- The landlord increases the rent again within 12 months. There are 3 exceptions to this. The landlord is allowed to increase the rent within 12 months:
– in the 1st year of your rental contract;
– If there was more than one year between the previous 2 rent increases;
– if the landlord has improved the property.
You pay an all-in price. You then pay one amount of bare rent and additional costs. This way you cannot check whether the rent increase is correct. Does the landlord still want to increase the rent? Ask him or her to split the all-in price.
If your landlord does not agree with your objection, you can start a procedure at the Rent Commission. Then there are two possible outcomes:
Does it turn out that the annual rent increase is reasonable? Then the higher rent will take effect from the effective date of the rent increase (retroactively). You also have to pay the costs of the €25 procedure.
Is the rent increase not reasonable? Then the rent increase will not go through or the Rent Commission will set the correct rent. In the latter case, the decision will state the percentage or amount by which the rent may be increased and the date on which the rent increase will take effect.
Rent in the free sector
Different rules apply to rent increases in the free sector.
For free sector housing, the annual rent increase as of Jan. 1, 2023, is a maximum of 4.1%. Due to a change in the law in 2022, the permitted rent increase in the free sector is linked to wage development when it is lower than inflation.
Objecting to a rent increase proposal is possible in free sector rentals only when your landlord increases the rent by more than 4.1%.
Does the annual rent increase turn out to be correct? Then the higher rent will take effect from the effective date of the rent increase (with retroactive effect).
Is the rent increase incorrect? Then the Rent Commission will determine the correct rent. The ruling states the percentage by which the rent may increase and the date on which the rent increase takes effect.
So always check whether you are dealing with social rent or rent in the free sector. Furthermore, we would like to advise you to always talk to your landlord first if you have any doubts about the proposed rent increase, but of course the Steunpunt is always ready to help anyone who has questions, whether about rent increases or other matters.