Your friends have finally learnt your address by heart, and you’re celebrating living for  four whole seasons in the same place, when your landlord calls to give you advance notice of a rent increase. Before you get upset, it’s best to check the rules of the game. Or even better, consult a specialist in tenancy law. Read on for more information on when, how, and  by how much your rent may increase after a year.
In principle landlords may raise the rent once every twelve months, unless the raise is related to recent improvements of the premises. There is no precise date stipulated in the current tenancy law, however increases are customarily implemented on 1 July.
In the case of premises that are rented for less than  € 631.73, as of 1 July 2008 the State exercises control over the increase of the rent. Landlords can freely raise rents that are above this limit. With due notice, the landlord must give his tenant notice of what he or she believes the new amount should be.  Most often the tenancy agreement contains some indication of what the new amount might be.
In case the tenancy agreement has no explicit indication of an increase, and you disagree with the landlord’s proposed raise, your landlord may take this as a refusal of a reasonable offer to conclude a new tenancy agreement. The landlord can then bring the case to the subdistrict judge (kantonrechter), in which case a judge will compare to other rents of  similar dwellings.
In case the judge deems the proposed increase reasonable, the lessee has one month left to agree to the new amount. The judge can terminate the tenancy agreement if the lessee still refuses to acknowledge the new agreement.
In case the tenancy agreement already incorporates a periodic raise of a certain percentage, it is understood that you have agreed to this by signing the lease. No further notice on behalf of the landlord is then necessary.  It may be worthwhile having your tenancy agreement checked by a specialist in tenancy law – especially if you have already been notified of an increase. Please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.
Leontien Klap