I'd like to rent a home. Can my landlord ask me to pay a deposit?
Yes, a landlord is allowed to ask for a deposit. The maximum deposit is three months’ basic rent (excluding utility charges). This maximum has been set by the courts.
Make sure you get a receipt
Ask for a receipt when you pay the deposit, or pay by bank transfer. Then you can prove that you have paid the deposit and what the amount was.
Deposit gives the landlord more certainty
A deposit gives the landlord more certainty that he will not be left with unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. And that he will not be left to pay the costs of any damage to the property caused by the tenant. The landlord is allowed to deduct unpaid rent or the costs of damage from the deposit before paying it back.
Sometimes tenants do not leave the property clean and in an acceptable condition at the end of the tenancy. Or they do not hand over the property to the landlord in line with the agreements that have been made about the handover. The landlord then faces the cost of making sure the property is clean and tidy for the next tenant. The landlord is allowed to deduct these costs from the deposit before paying it back. But the landlord is not allowed to deduct costs for ordinary wear and tear or for damage due to their own poor maintenance of the property.
Deposit too high: refuse to pay or go to court
If the deposit asked for by the landlord is too high, you have two options:
- You can refuse to pay the deposit. This makes it unlikely you will get to rent the property, however.
- You can pay the deposit and then ask a court of law to reduce it. If the court reduces the deposit, the landlord must pay back the difference.
The landlord must pay the deposit back when the tenancy ends
The landlord must pay the deposit back to the tenant when the tenancy ends. The landlord does not need to pay the tenant interest on the deposit.
If the landlord does not pay back the deposit
If the landlord refuses to pay back the deposit when the tenancy ends, write the landlord a letter asking them to repay the deposit. You can use the model letter (in Dutch) on the website of the Legal Aid and Advice Centre. You can also use this letter if the amount deducted from the deposit by the landlord before it was repaid is too high.
If the landlord still refuses to pay back the deposit you can go to court to demand repayment.
Make good agreements on the handover of the property
As a tenant, there are certain steps you can take to ensure the landlord does not deduct unjustified amounts from your deposit. Before the end of your tenancy, ask how you should hand over the property. And make sure that the landlord draws up as comprehensive a report as possible on the condition of the property when it is handed over. It is a good idea to be present when this takes place. Check whether the report is dated and includes the name and signature of the person who drew it up.
If the landlord or the property manager does not draw up a report before the handover, take photographs of the property yourself and record any defects in writing. Send your photographs and your written description of defects to the landlord well before the handover.
Legal Aid and Advice Centre: advice on deposits and handover
You can get free legal advice on deposits, property handover and going to court to ask for money to be repaid from the Legal Aid and Advice Centre. (in Dutch)