Thijs's story

About two years ago, I moved from my student room to a privately rented flat in Utrecht, together with my girlfriend. We ended up moving there after responding to an add on Facebook.

After four or five months, I decided to check whether the rent was all right by completing the Rent Tribunal's points check. It turned out that we were paying more than was allowed, so then we approached the landlord.

He was inexperienced at renting out property. Actually, this is his only property and the first one he has ever rented out. When we found out that something was wrong, we invited him over to discuss it. We had both done our calculations and we compared these. There were quite a few differences between them that had a major influence on the rent, such as the WOZ value and the energy label category.

We couldn't come to an agreement straight away, since we still differed in opinion so strongly – but because we did want to resolve the issue together, I asked the Rent Team for more information about the points calculations for rented homes. They emailed me that my calculations were correct. I went back to the landlord with this information and we then managed to reach a compromise. The rent was lowered from €880 to €600 per month. That means I'm saving the equivalent of 100 cappuccinos in rent every month!

Of course it's not much fun to deal with a situation like this, but my landlord was actually pretty understanding. It's nowhere near as scary as most people think it is. Especially small-scale landlords turn out to be pretty understanding. Creepy landlords who make your life hell straight away are a bit of a myth. Try to resolve things together, that's what's important. If this fails, however, you should involve the Rent Tribunal. I think everyone has the right to have their tenancy contract checked. We still live in the same flat and our relationship with the landlord is the same as ever.

Age: 24
Place of residence: Utrecht
Utrecht University