I will soon move to The Netherlands and I have been looking at apartments online. I have filled out some applications and Rental Agency A assigned an apartment to me via their platform. I was asked to accept it via their platform so they can start checking my documents. After a while, they have checked the documents and sent a contract that was supposed to be signed within 3 days (they have passed) On the day Rental Agency A sent the contract, Rental Agency B assigned an apartment to me as well, which I prefer over option A. I have written an email to Agency A, informing them I am no longer interested the apartment, however I saw some posts on reddit about other people’s stories that they were threatened with the fact that they (for example in my case Rental Agency A and me) have an agreement already. From my phone and email conversation with Rental Agency A, we discussed only the deposit, renting start date and rent sum. In the contract they have sent there are some things that we did not discuss (e.g they have to visit the apartment every year, it is mandatory to use their gas company etc). Do I have any legal obligations towards renting agency A? Is it true that any sort of renting contract can be broken after max one month?

P.S on their website it said that it is an indefinite contract with a minimum of 12 months.

Thank you in advance!

  • 2
    What exactly were you asked, and what exactly did you communicate? Did you sign something? The details are important here. Anyway, if you have not signed the contract, you are very likely not obligated to rent the apartment; but even if this is the case you may still be liable vis-a-vis rental agency A to some extent. Again, depends on the details + IANAL.
    – einpoklum
    Jul 4, 2022 at 22:44
  • Thank you for your answer! Since you are the first the one to take into consideration I might have some sort of obligations, here are the details: I created an account online, uploaded some documents and I choose my apartment preferences. After a while the agency allocated one of those to me, told me the contract starts on 1st of July and I was asked to accept the offer online (with a button) within three days. I did. They they started to check my documents (job, salary, bank accounts etc). After more or less 3 weeks they reached out and told me I passed, but the renting period starts
    – Bubble9304
    Jul 6, 2022 at 6:59
  • On the 1st of Septermber and if i agree (via email). I asked also via email, what happened that it is delayed by 2 months - and after a lot of back and forth and no specific answer I called them. They told it was because the floors were not added yet (it is a new building to be soon finished) and I was asked via the phone whether 1st of Sept would be fine and if they should send me the contract. I said it is not ideal, but yes, they should send the contract (if i remember correctly, this is the exact expression). I got the contract per email and was written that I should sign within 3 days
    – Bubble9304
    Jul 6, 2022 at 7:02
  • On the same day I got another offer (from another agency - B) for another apartment which will be rented out sooner (in my favour) and I accepted it and I am waiting for the contract to sign it. My concerns regarding the first agency is whether what we have discussed can be seen as some sort of verbal agreement. Also, to be noticed that I will be renting with my partner, who didn‘t have any sort of communication with them, but was also supposed to sign the contract. Any thoughts @einpoklum ?
    – Bubble9304
    Jul 6, 2022 at 7:05
  • About your partner - if you did not tell the rental agency you will be renting with a partner, that's "your problem", not theirs.
    – einpoklum
    Jul 6, 2022 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


If you didn't sign the contract, you didn't rent the apartment. That's what rental contracts are for. Your "acceptance of the offer" was preliminary and not final - considering how rental agency A told you to "sign the contract within 3 days", rather than indicating that the agreement was finalized and the contract was just a formality.

Your description of the circumstances suggest that the rental agency will not try to hold you liable for going back on your acceptance. However, depending on the "fine print" of what you agreed to, their terms-and-conditions, the text on the website etc., as well Dutch legal custom with which I am not familiar - you may theoretically have some liability towards the rental agency.

The chance of them trying to hold you liable is reduced even further by your having a partner, who has not indicated their acceptance of anything - which you had told them about. With this in mind, they can have essentially no valid claim to relying on the deal going through. So, I would expect you to be off the hook.

Caveat: I am not a lawyer, and have not been in a similar situation myself in the Netherlands.

Advice to other readers: When in contact with a rental agency, ask about the process, and what kind of commitment is there at each point. You should probably prefer to have no final commitment until a contract is signed, but the nature of the process may not be up to your choice.

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