Home Housing Renting Leaving Dutch rental accommodation
Last update on December 09, 2018
Written by Mike Russell

A Canadian expat finds that leaving his rented accommodation in the Netherlands isn’t quite as easy as expected. Housing expert Mike Russell offers advice.

I am an exchange student from Canada, renting accommodation in Groningen. I would like to terminate my lease one month early and am giving at least three clear months notice (which is the law in Canada). However, I have been told that I cannot terminate my lease. Is this correct? What are the laws of terminating a lease from a renter’s perspective?

Mike Russell, Managing Partner of Perfect Housing replies:

The type of contract, and stipulations in the contract, determine the possibilities regarding giving notice.  Broadly speaking, there are four scenarios but the devil is in the specifics so please consider these general remarks:

Fixed-term contract (bepaalde tijd)

This contract stipulates a start and end date of the agreement. There is no possibility to extend and the tenant is obliged to pay for the full term of the contract. Such a contract (typically) states that the owner, say, has only rented it out on a temporary basis as they intend to return (from abroad) and live in the property themselves.

Fixed-term contract (bepaalde tijd)

In which the owner is, in fact, an investor (belegger) who is not returning to personally use the accommodation for his/her own purposes. In this situation, the tenant is typically permitted to leave/ break the contract by giving notice equivalent to one payment period (eg. if rent is paid monthly, then the notice would be a month).

Indefinite contract (onbepaalde tijd)

This contract has a start date but no fixed end date. If the contract states that the tenant cannot break the agreement in the first year, then there would be rental obligation for the initial 12 months (more than 12 months would be regarded as unreasonable).

Indefinite contract (onbepaalde tijd)

If no obligations regarding a minimum rental commitment are specified in the contract, then the tenant is typically permitted to leave or break the contract by giving notice equivalent to one payment period (e.g. if rent is paid monthly, then the notice would be a month).