Three Dutch housing agencies may be fined by the consumer authority ACM for illegally charging clients for finding them a home. Domica Eindhoven, Goeth Vastgoed in Eindhoven, and Max Property Rentals in Rotterdam have been given six weeks to change their policy or they will be fined €5,000 a week.
ACM consumer affairs director Edwin van Houten reportedly explained that ‘Rental housing agencies are not allowed to charge tenants fees if they are working on behalf of the landlord…It does not matter if they call them administration fees, a deposit or entrance fee. It is banned and tenants are the victims.”
According to the municipality-funded housing advocate !Woon, these types of agency fees are not allowed because “there is a conflict of interest, between the landlord and the tenant…agencies are not allowed to represent both parties at the same time. They can only represent either the landlord or the tenant…The agency is only allowed to charge the party they are representing.”
ACM said the costs charged by the three companies were around €400 per month and were often required before prospective tenants could visit the property.