ACM compels rental agency to stop charging agency fees
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ordered another rental agency, Duinzigt Wonen B.V. in The Hague, to stop charging lessees agency fees. Charging agency fees is not allowed because Duinzigt acts as an agent for the lessors. ACM has given the company six weeks to stop charging lessees agency fees. If it fails to comply with this deadline, the company must pay a periodic penalty payment of 5,000 euros per week with a maximum of 250,000 euros.
ACM wants to end the practice of charging lessees agency fees. If ACM still receives reports that rental agencies continue charging agency fees, ACM may impose fines.
ACM recently announced it had imposed orders subject to periodic penaly payments on three other rental agencies, compelling them to stop charging unlawful agency fees. A fourth agency, which is Duinzigt, had filed an objection against ACM’s decision. ACM has now disallowed its objections.
Illegal agency fees
Rental agencies act as brokers between lessors and lessees. Lessors wish to rent out homes or rooms, and the agencies match these with lessees. The law stipulates that, if the rental agency acts as an agent for the lessor, it cannot charge the lessee any agency fees.
Duinzigt charges a registration fee of 40 euros and an administrative fee of 75 euros. Lessees are required to pay these fees before they can move into their homes. Charging agency fees is prohibited, regardless of the names that agencies give such fees and regardless of the procedures they come up with.
What are consumers able to do themselves?
It is important that consumers share their recent experiences with ACM ConsuWijzer. On ACM ConsuWijzer’s website, consumers can also find information about their rights concerning rental agencies, as well as a sample letter, which helps them claim back any unlawfully paid fees.
07-01-2020 Duinzigt’s order subject to periodic penalty payments for charging illegal agency fees (in Dutch)