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INC, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: European Law
Satisfied Customers: 96
Experience:  LL.B, LPC, LL.M, Pg.Dip, Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
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We are an expat family in the Netherlands. When we arrived

Customer Question

We are an expat family in the Netherlands.
When we arrived we rented our house . Using an estate agent as intermediary. As per usual we gave deposit. 1750Euros.
We stayed in it for 4 years. Then got the standard letter to get expats out of rented accomodation that the ''owner needed the house urgently''
At end we offered to do the check-out with the estate agent. But they didn't answer. Rather bad as their office is was/is next door to the house.
So we moved
However the estate agent or makelaar as they are called here refuses to refund deposit.
Indeed the will not even communicate on the matter
This has been ongoing for 2 years now.
It is bad becuase
1] the makelaar as we undestand is to work in the tenants interest [this was ruled in a court case]
2] the law appears to be quite clear that our deposit must be refunded [now plus considerable interest]
3] yet no solicitor or Dutch consumer body we've approached will challenge a Dutch makelaar . They seem to operate with impunity.
[indeed Dutch legal people just say it is ''your/our fault'' as you did not seek legal advice at the time you recevied notification to leave, as if somehow we would know of such a legal caveat]
4] when we left, nobody actually moved into the house for over a year perhaps two.
Any suggestions as to how to get our refund. As it is still our money.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: European Law
Expert:  Thegonnec replied 10 months ago.

The only chance (albeit very slim and costly) would be to take the makelaar to small claim court. Yet to have any chance you will need to prove that you formally notified him of the date you left the place and demanded he do the check-out (either you sent him a registered delivery letter, or summons via a bailiff) If not, as unfortunate as it may seem, he will claim that he was not notified of your leaving date, could not do the check-out in your presence and discovered that the place was in such a state that your deposit had to be kept... If you can prove you formally notified him of your leaving, and summoned him to do the check-out in your presence and he either refused ou did not answer, you have a stronger case. But the burden of proof weighs on your shoulders.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi your answer doesn.t make sense . The makelaar gave us a FORMAL letter saying the date we had leave. We left on that date. So the makelaar rehearsed excuses [as you appear to be familiar with] of ''not knowing'' when we would leave would be invalid? Yes/No?
On that point as we have been in over 3 years . The makelaar does not have right to send such a notification letter to leave.Overall Disturbing that indeed , tennats [expats ] have no protection as they do in UK though.