29/07/2013 | rental deposit | housing service | LOKO lawyer

Problems with your rental deposit?

Opgelet: dit artikel lijkt al van een tijdje geleden te zijn. Dit is mogelijk niet de meest recente informatie over dit onderwerp.

By the end of your rental agreement, you normally are entitled to be paid back your rental deposit. Only in exceptional  cases (e.g. damage which the landlord can prove was done by you, when the advances in energy aren’t sufficient or if a part of the rent is still remaining to be paid), the landlord can withhold the deposit.

Every year, a number of students get confronted with problems regarding the repayment of their deposit even though the current legislation on letting property is pretty clear. Unfortunately, many students don’t know what their rights and duties are. As a result, many students get disadvantaged. For many students the cost of a lawyer is a big threshold to demand a reimbursement through court, as oftentimes the amount due by the landlord is small.

What to do with problems?

If there is a disagreement with the tenant about the reimbursement, it’s best to go the KU Leuven’s Housing Service immediately. They will undertake a first attempt at mediation and will help you with drawing up a registered letter to your landlord to make your point. The interest (7%) on the deposit starts from the moment the registered letter was sent and from there on, you can start to undertake the necessary steps. Though, in the majority of the cases a solution will be found through the mediation of the Housing Service.  

If however, no solution is found in your case, the Housing Service will refer your case to LOKO.  As recognized student representatives, they will bring your case to the justice of the peace of Leuven. This is free of charge and you don’t have to go to court yourself. The lawyer of LOKO will manage your case and represent your  interests from here on.

Tips

Always ask for a receipt for everything you paid in cash to your landlord. Even when you give back the keys to your room, ask for a receipt.

Always pay your rental fee. Some students don’t pay their last (two) month(s) of rent. This to be sure they will receive their deposit back or to compensate for a decaying room.  This is highly dissuaded. If your dispute would have to be solved by the justice of the peace, you  risk to be partially put in the wrong and afterwards you will have to bear part in the court costs.

Hand in your keys on time. Holding your keys “hostage” as a threat is counterproductive.  After all, you will owe more rent and the judge will put you partially in the wrong.

If you disagree with the “description of accommodation” (In Dutch: plaatsbeschrijving) at the end of the year, you are not required to sign.  Once you have signed, it is hard to contest the description of accommodation.

If you determine gross negligence of the landlord (e.g. broken heating, faulty shower, electricity problems, ...), immediately notify the landlord by a registered letter. At best, you can prove “loss of use” and recover some of your rent afterwards.

Remember that both the landlord and you can use “all legal means” as evidence. This means that e.g. a testimony from someone who also knows your room, could be decisive for the justice of the peace.

Which documents should I keep close?

When you are hoping for successful mediation of the Housing Service (or a possible lawsuit through LOKO), you must keep the necessary documents:  

- Your rental agreement (in Dutch!), signed by you and your landlord, and the house regulations (if set up)

- Proof of dispatch of the registered letters. You receive these at the counter of the post office when you send the letters. Attach the proof to a copy of the letter.  

- The written correspondence between the landlord and you.

- The written settlements given by the landlord to you.

- All receipts of payment and delivery of the keys.

- All other documents that could prove that you are entitled to be reimbursed by your landlord. Possibly a handwritten testimony of a “kotmate” or someone who knows your room.  

When can I complain?

Which costs cannot be deducted from the deposit?

Energy costs that can’t be justified by a registered meter and associated invoices from the energy supplier can’t be deducted. Costs that can’t be calculated according to own use (with e.g. a personal counter on your radiator) are, unless the rental agreement states otherwise, not valid. In this case, it’s best to contact the Housing Service of KU Leuven.

Normal wear and tear, such as a little hole in the wall, a brown “burn” on the ceiling around the lighting, a worn light switch, … In short, all wear and tear in the room that is caused by normal use as a residence cannot be charged to you.

If there is no description of accommodation at the beginning of the rental term, or if you haven’t signed it, all damage in your room is suspected to be made before your arrival. In other words: in this case nothing can be charged to you, unless the landlord can prove in another way that the damage is caused by you. There are some exceptions to this rule regarding heavy damage (e.g. broken windows or doors). The Housing Service can give you more details about this.

The municipal tax (tax on second homes, €75 per academic year) has to be paid to the city of Leuven by the landlord himself. It is only to be charged to you when it’s explicitly described in the rental agreement.

Moratory interests for belated rental payments: no matter what is written in your contract, you always have to be notified on rental arrears by a registered letter before the interests on your rental fees can be charged to you.  All other arrangements on paper are invalid in any case.

Transportation costs of the landlord, registered letters or notices cannot simply be passed on to you.

Any general (management) costs that are not mentioned in the contract or that are clearly excessive, cannot be charged to you.

Most discussions on reimbursements concern the settlement of energy costs, unsettlement rental payments, or damage to the room. Never hesitate to contact the Housing Service when you doubt about the accuracy of the rental costs. 

29/07/2013 | rental deposit | housing service | LOKO lawyer

Problems with your rental deposit?

Opgelet: dit artikel lijkt al van een tijdje geleden te zijn. Dit is mogelijk niet de meest recente informatie over dit onderwerp.

By the end of your rental agreement, you normally are entitled to be paid back your rental deposit. Only in exceptional  cases (e.g. damage which the landlord can prove was done by you, when the advances in energy aren’t sufficient or if a part of the rent is still remaining to be paid), the landlord can withhold the deposit.

Every year, a number of students get confronted with problems regarding the repayment of their deposit even though the current legislation on letting property is pretty clear. Unfortunately, many students don’t know what their rights and duties are. As a result, many students get disadvantaged. For many students the cost of a lawyer is a big threshold to demand a reimbursement through court, as oftentimes the amount due by the landlord is small.

What to do with problems?

If there is a disagreement with the tenant about the reimbursement, it’s best to go the KU Leuven’s Housing Service immediately. They will undertake a first attempt at mediation and will help you with drawing up a registered letter to your landlord to make your point. The interest (7%) on the deposit starts from the moment the registered letter was sent and from there on, you can start to undertake the necessary steps. Though, in the majority of the cases a solution will be found through the mediation of the Housing Service.  

If however, no solution is found in your case, the Housing Service will refer your case to LOKO.  As recognized student representatives, they will bring your case to the justice of the peace of Leuven. This is free of charge and you don’t have to go to court yourself. The lawyer of LOKO will manage your case and represent your  interests from here on.

Tips

Always ask for a receipt for everything you paid in cash to your landlord. Even when you give back the keys to your room, ask for a receipt.

Always pay your rental fee. Some students don’t pay their last (two) month(s) of rent. This to be sure they will receive their deposit back or to compensate for a decaying room.  This is highly dissuaded. If your dispute would have to be solved by the justice of the peace, you  risk to be partially put in the wrong and afterwards you will have to bear part in the court costs.

Hand in your keys on time. Holding your keys “hostage” as a threat is counterproductive.  After all, you will owe more rent and the judge will put you partially in the wrong.

If you disagree with the “description of accommodation” (In Dutch: plaatsbeschrijving) at the end of the year, you are not required to sign.  Once you have signed, it is hard to contest the description of accommodation.

If you determine gross negligence of the landlord (e.g. broken heating, faulty shower, electricity problems, ...), immediately notify the landlord by a registered letter. At best, you can prove “loss of use” and recover some of your rent afterwards.

Remember that both the landlord and you can use “all legal means” as evidence. This means that e.g. a testimony from someone who also knows your room, could be decisive for the justice of the peace.

Which documents should I keep close?

When you are hoping for successful mediation of the Housing Service (or a possible lawsuit through LOKO), you must keep the necessary documents:  

- Your rental agreement (in Dutch!), signed by you and your landlord, and the house regulations (if set up)

- Proof of dispatch of the registered letters. You receive these at the counter of the post office when you send the letters. Attach the proof to a copy of the letter.  

- The written correspondence between the landlord and you.

- The written settlements given by the landlord to you.

- All receipts of payment and delivery of the keys.

- All other documents that could prove that you are entitled to be reimbursed by your landlord. Possibly a handwritten testimony of a “kotmate” or someone who knows your room.  

When can I complain?

Which costs cannot be deducted from the deposit?

Energy costs that can’t be justified by a registered meter and associated invoices from the energy supplier can’t be deducted. Costs that can’t be calculated according to own use (with e.g. a personal counter on your radiator) are, unless the rental agreement states otherwise, not valid. In this case, it’s best to contact the Housing Service of KU Leuven.

Normal wear and tear, such as a little hole in the wall, a brown “burn” on the ceiling around the lighting, a worn light switch, … In short, all wear and tear in the room that is caused by normal use as a residence cannot be charged to you.

If there is no description of accommodation at the beginning of the rental term, or if you haven’t signed it, all damage in your room is suspected to be made before your arrival. In other words: in this case nothing can be charged to you, unless the landlord can prove in another way that the damage is caused by you. There are some exceptions to this rule regarding heavy damage (e.g. broken windows or doors). The Housing Service can give you more details about this.

The municipal tax (tax on second homes, €75 per academic year) has to be paid to the city of Leuven by the landlord himself. It is only to be charged to you when it’s explicitly described in the rental agreement.

Moratory interests for belated rental payments: no matter what is written in your contract, you always have to be notified on rental arrears by a registered letter before the interests on your rental fees can be charged to you.  All other arrangements on paper are invalid in any case.

Transportation costs of the landlord, registered letters or notices cannot simply be passed on to you.

Any general (management) costs that are not mentioned in the contract or that are clearly excessive, cannot be charged to you.

Most discussions on reimbursements concern the settlement of energy costs, unsettlement rental payments, or damage to the room. Never hesitate to contact the Housing Service when you doubt about the accuracy of the rental costs. 

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