“Do not sign the contract. Read it first. The words hidden and written in smaller fonts read twice at least”.
But it was too late.
A few months ago, two young international students came to live in the Netherlands.
They were looking for an apartment, and as it was the beginning of the academic year, due to the shortage at the market, they signed a contract and rented quite an expensive apartment (60 % higher than the market rate).
When they moved in, the apartment was a far cry from the pictures on the real estate website. Most of the furniture and fittings were
in really bad condition. And here is a first mistake: they did not report the differences and did not document them.
Students lived for a few months and, fortunately, found something better. Cheaper.
They informed the real estate agency, paid all fees, and moved out. Just to find out that:
1. They still had to pay the remaining monthly fees for the next months. Real estate did not inform students that they have to pay fees for at least 6 months.😮 This was written in the contract clause. Students did not notice it and sign it.
2. If they would not pay the remaining fees, the agency threatened to involve the collector’s agency – Incassobureau. This agency is responsible for collecting a range of different fines.😮 If you do not pay in time, the percentage above your fines is ticking from the due date.
This is a bad business – taking advantage of young people who are not aware of the rules of real estate in the Netherlands, new to the country. It is misleading to sell something that is worse quality than had been presented online.
But unfortunately, it happens. That`s why you have a contract – not only to make life more difficult but also to protect your interests.
I suggested to students to hire lawyers and do it immediately.
Fortunately, they did.
At this moment, they are still trying to resolve the case. And so, I will repeat: Read the contract. Only sign once you understand what is in there. Read the Termination clause – who and when could cancel the contract. .
Save yourself money, time, and energy. PS: I have asked their permission to share this story.