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Affordable Rent Act

Gepubliceerd: 09-07-2024


Affordable Rent Act


Claudia van Meurs – Janssens

Lawyer Counsel tenancy law Köster Advocaten | lawyer since 2012 | editorial SDU Commentary Tenancy law | member VHA |


After much media attention, criticism, discussion and uncertainty, the Affordable Rent Act came into effect on July 1, 2024. Since the internet consultation in 2023, the bill has been extensively modified and various amendments and motions have been adopted. High time for a complete overview. What does this law change and what does it mean for current and new rental agreements?


The components of the Affordable Rent Act


The Affordable Rent Act actually consists of three important parts:


  1. A new middle segment is being created.
  2. The housing valuation system (WWS) will become mandatory for homes in the low and middle segments.
  3. The WWS is simplified and modernized.


The rental of living space therefore changes from the distinction between social rental and private sector to a distinction between three segments:


low segment (old social rental): living space with an initial rent up to and including the maximum low rent limit (147 points);

middle segment: living space with an initial rent price from the liberalization limit up to and including 186 points;

high segment (old free sector): living space from 187 points.

More rental price protection in the middle and high segments


Due to the Affordable Rent Act, tenants in the middle and high segment now also have more rental price protection. For example, they can always make a proposal to adjust the rent based on the WWS point counts. The Rent Committee will assess this proposal if the landlord does not agree with it. Any adjustment to the rental price by the Rental Committee has no retroactive effect and only applies to future rental periods. If the property has more than 186 points, the rent will not be adjusted by the Rent Committee and the landlord is free to determine the rent. This procedure was previously only open to social housing, but can now be used by all tenants.


Furthermore, nowadays all tenants of residential accommodation can contact the Rent Assessment Committee in case of disputes with the landlord about service costs. However, tenants must take into account the deadline under which a request to assess the service costs must be made within 30 months after the calendar year to which it relates. This expiration period previously also applied to social rent.


Rental price protection for current and new rental agreements


In summary, the transitional law of rental price protection entails the following:


the changes do not apply to current rental agreements concluded before July 1, 2024 (entry into force of the Affordable Rent Act)

There is an exception for current rental agreements of independent homes with a quality of less than 144 points. The changes apply to those rental agreements one year after the Affordable Rent Act comes into effect.

Mandatory points system (WWS)


Before the introduction of the Affordable Rent Act, the housing valuation system (WWS) determined the maximum rents, but the landlord and tenant were allowed to agree on a higher rent. If a tenant with a rent above the liberalization limit does not have the rent assessed by the rent committee within six months after the start of the rental contract (or six months after the end of a temporary rental agreement), the agreed rental price became final. If the rent committee adjusted the starting rent, any adjusted rent applied retroactively.


Tenants in social housing could also submit a proposal to reduce the rent after the first six months of the lease. This initiative lay entirely with the tenant. An adjustment to the rental price then only applied to future rental terms.


According to the new rules, landlords are not allowed to rent out independent or non-self-contained accommodation for a higher price than the maximum rental price according to the WWS. The WWS is therefore mandatory. This does not apply to independent living spaces in the high segment.


Furthermore, under the new rules, landlords may only increase the rent by the legally permitted rent increase.


The fact that the WWS and the maximum rent increase are now mandatory means that the landlord must adhere to it himself. Municipalities can monitor compliance with these rules and enforce violations. They can act following a report or enforcement request from a tenant, but also on their own initiative. Municipalities cannot adjust the lease agreement themselves, but they can use enforcement measures to force landlords to do so.


Furthermore, landlords must provide the tenant with a WWS point count of the property at the start of the rental agreement. This helps tenants to check whether the rental price is correct and to take action if it is not.


What does the mandatory WWS mean for current and new rental agreements?


The associated transitional law is as follows:


The prohibition on charging a higher rent than in accordance with the WWS does not apply to current rental agreements concluded before July 1, 2024 (entry into force of the Affordable Rent Act), but there are two exceptions:

Exception 1: The prohibition on charging a higher rent than in accordance with the WWS immediately applies to current rental agreements with an initial rent below the liberalization limit.

Exception 2: After a transitional period of 1 year, the ban also applies to current rental agreements for independent living space with an initial rent above the liberalization limit applicable at the time and a quality in the low segment (up to 144 points). Even if the rental price has not been tested and has therefore been fixed. The tenant of such accommodation can have the rent adjusted after the transition period of one year. This is not possible retroactively and the adjustment therefore only applies to rental installments that have yet to be published. Of course, the municipality can also enforce the ban after the transition period.


You always look at the quality of the home when tested (ex nunc) and the rental price at the start of the lease (ex tunc).


The obligation to include a points count in accordance with the WWS when entering into a rental agreement only applies to rental agreements concluded after July 1, 2024.

A motion has been adopted in the Senate so that municipal enforcement and the mandatory points counting for landlords will only come into effect on January 1, 2025, to give them more preparation time.

Objectification, simplification and modernization of WWS


The adjustment of the WWS consists of the following aspects:


The WOZ cap applies to living space from 187 WWS points. For those homes, the WOZ value of the living space counts for a maximum of 33% in the valuation of the home. This is to prevent a living space from ending up in the high segment due to the WOZ value. If a living space without the restriction receives a rating of more than 186 points and due to the restriction it receives a rating that is lower than 187 points, a rating of 186 points applies.

The energy label carries more weight. Homes with an A label or higher receive extra points, while homes with E, F or G labels receive up to 15 points deduction.

Monuments are exempt from the negative points for poor energy labels. For the valuation, the energy label is taken into account at the start of the rental agreement. If an energy label is missing, the energy performance rating is determined based on the year of construction of the living space. The actual situation is therefore not taken into account, even if an energy label is issued later. This is at odds with previous judgments of the Supreme Court, in which the factual situation was considered important.

Outdoor spaces such as balconies and gardens are better appreciated. Where an outdoor space was previously valued with 2 points per 25 m2, a private outdoor space now receives 2 points plus 0.35 per m2. A communal outdoor space is valued at 0.75 per m2, divided by the number of addresses that have access and usage rights.

Certain sanitary and luxury facilities are appreciated, such as a cooker and air conditioning (provided it can also heat).

A new construction surcharge of 10% applies to new construction projects that are put into use for the first time after July 1, 2024 and for which construction started before January 1, 2028. The new-build surcharge only applies to new mid-rental properties. The new construction surcharge applies for 20 years.

The 50 point surcharge for national monuments will be converted into a 35% maximum rental price surcharge when changed.

A rental price surcharge of 15% will be introduced for municipal and provincial monuments.

The maximum price surcharge of 15% for nationally protected villages and townscapes will be abolished. However, a motion adopted by the Senate requested the introduction of a fixed maximum price surcharge of 5% in the WWS for protected villages and townscapes.

The points for renovation of living space have been completely removed from the WWS.

Definition of independent living space


Part of the modernization of the WWS is the so-called clarification of the definition of independent living space included in the Housing Rental Prices Decree.


The existing definition of independent living space describes independent living space as living space with its own access that the resident can occupy without being dependent on essential facilities outside the home. The new definition of the Residential Rental Prices Decree is as follows:

A living space that constitutes an independent home is defined as a living space as referred to in Article 7:234 of the Civil Code, which is occupied by a maximum of two persons or which is occupied by three or more persons who have a permanent shared household. (…)


In other words: according to the new definition, renting to three home sharers who do not have a sustainable shared household constitutes non-independent living space. A sustainable shared household is not easily adopted, then you really have to think about families and very specific exceptional situations.


The application of the definition is based on the use agreed between the landlord and tenant(s). This means that tenants who sublet living space without the landlord’s permission or allow someone else to move in cannot ensure that living space changes color from independent to non-self-contained. If a landlord agrees to this, this will of course happen.


Transitional law definition of independent living space


There is no specific transitional law for the change in the definition of independent living space, so the definition seems to immediately apply to new and current rental agreements. When the Rental Committee assesses a proposal to reduce the rent, this will be done on the basis of the new definition. This means that the rent when renting to more than two people (if there is no sustainable shared household) is assessed on the basis of the WWSO.


The more difficult question is whether the prohibition on charging excessive rents also directly applies to a current rental agreement for living space that is no longer independent under the new definition or whether this living space still falls under the transitional law that applies to the definition. of independent living space as it was before and still is in the Civil Code. In any case, it is likely that the (officials of the) municipality will not understand the discussion about transitional law and will therefore take enforcement action (for example based on the number of registrations for a home). We are waiting for the first procedures.


Evaluation of the Affordable Rent Act


The Affordable Rent Act will be evaluated within five years of its entry into force and every five years thereafter. A motion has been adopted in the Senate requesting that evaluation be carried out within three years after entry into force, but that motion has not yet been incorporated into the text of the law. In addition, a motion was adopted in the Senate on the basis of which initial monitoring must be carried out within one year after the law comes into effect regarding the development of the supply of rental properties in the middle segment, including the number of sales of rental properties.


also see Affordable Rent Act in the Netherlands: What you need to know (iamexpat.nl)



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