What if I can’t pay my rent?
Because of the Covid-19 virus and the many emergency measures the government is announcing, many students are left with uncertainties and doubts. What will come of my job? And my education? Will I be able to make rent? We will tackle that last question below. First we’ll sketch a picture of your rights as a tenant and at the bottom of the page we’ll link to (contact)information of most major student housing associations. Still got lingering questions? Contact our housing hotline.
You and your rent
As a tenant you have to pay rent every month in order to be allowed to live in your residence. But what happens if you can’t make rent? For example, because the Covid-19 virus has limited your possibilities for work.
International students from within the EU/EER may apply for student loans (Dutch: studielening) and public transport benefits (Dutch: studentenreisproduct) provided they can prove that they work 56 hours a month in the Netherlands. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the following decrease in economic activity nationwide, working 56 hours has become very difficult to impossible for many international students. The minister of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven had indicated that DUO will be lenient with students who are unable to prove that they have worked 56 hours. If this applies to you, please contact DUO directly and explain your situation to them.
Luckily you can’t just be evicted. Rental law is quite protective of tenants. This makes it quite hard to disband a rental agreement by the landlord. In order to do this, the lessor has to go to court. Usually at that point, already two or three months of rent have to be missed for such a verdict to pass. Because this process is costly and takes a long time, lessors usually don’t want to take this step. Most landlords therefore try to reach some arrangement with their tenants in such situations. So if you worry about making your rent, get in contact with your landlord.
Housing associations like Duwo or SSH usually have some kind of procedure in place for these kinds of situations. Often there are possibilities to make a payment arrangement. This allows you to pay the rent you can’t afford right now, in several terms. These arrangements usually don’t allow for several months of missed rent, though. Therefore always contact your lessor when you suspect a payment problem.
If for some reason you can’t make rent for a longer while, most procedures follow these steps: First you get a reminder of payment due, then an urgent request (aanmaning) and finally your file is given to a debt collector. These will first try to collect the payment, but if they fail, will start a court case to lay claim to the due debt and end your rental contract. Try to prevent this by contacting your lessor in time. If you do find yourself in this situation, always get legal assistance.
NB: The procedure and the time between the steps may differ by lessor.
Update: No house evictions and extention temporal rental agreements
PLEASE NOTE: This is not an official translation of the article on the government webpage. Therefore, no rights can be derived from this document.
Nobody should be cast out of their homes because of the coronacrisis. This sentiment is expressed by minister for the Environment and Housing van Veldhoven and the organizations of landlords and sector associations (Aedes, IVBN, Kences, Vastgoed Belang). They have therefore agreed to halt house evictions for now. On top of that the minister will introduce urgent legislation to extend temporal rental agreements. This is supported by the Woonbond and the LSVb. Adding to this statement vacancy administrators have in a separate statement expressed how they will relate to their residents during this time of crisis.
The cabinet has taken measures to ensure the least possible amount of people will have financial troubles in the short term. For tenants, who despite these measures aren’t able to afford the monthly rent, landlords are committing to delivering custom solutions. On top of that there will be no house evictions during the coronacrisis. Unless there are clear reasons, like criminal activity or extreme nuisance. Read the full article here.
Information of student housing associations
NB: Not all associations offer information in english.
Stadswonen Rotterdam: https://www.stadswonenrotterdam.nl/en/I-am-a-tenant/The-cost-of-living