Each year, when they move to the Grand Duchy to work, thousands of expatriates need to find somewhere to live and are confronted with the realities of renting accommodation. If you are in this situation, do not worry. In the following lines, we will explain to you what you need to know when renting a property in Luxembourg.
The rental costs
Even if the maximum rent charged to tenants may not exceed 5% of the amount that the landlord has invested in the property, housing is costly in Luxembourg. According to the 2017 current market rents published by Eurostat1, Luxembourg City is in the top-4 most expensive cities for flats (2,350 € for a 3-bedroom, 1,800 € for a 2-bedroom and 1,400 € for a 1-bedroom) with Paris, Dublin and Copenhagen. The capital tops the chart for most expensive detached and non-detached houses (respectively 3,050 € and 3,900 €).
When you rent in Luxembourg, you also have to consider the agency fees and the rental deposit. Most homeowners rent their property via real estate agencies, which represents to the tenant an additional cost corresponding to 1 month’s rent plus VAT (17%)2. You will have to pay a deposit to serve as a guarantee for the payment of the lease, the additional charges and any damage that may be caused to the property. The landlord may ask you to pay additional rental expenses, including costs for energy consumption, the maintenance and upkeep of the dwelling and communal areas or small repairs.
The rental duration
The standard rental duration in Luxembourg is usually 2 or 3 years but you can negotiate with the landlord (or the agency) to have a shorter lease. In any case, the period must be stipulated in the rental agreement. If you wish to move out at the end of the rental period, you have to inform your landlord by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt a minimum of 3 months in advance and pay all rent due up to this date. If you or your landlord do not give any notice, the fixed-term contract will be automatically renewed at the end of the period and converted into a month-to-month contract (unless otherwise stipulated). It means that you can terminate your leasing agreement at any time. Of course, you are still required to give 3 months’ notice.
If you want to move out before the agreed rental period, you should discuss this with your landlord. In practice, most of the landlords will accept your decision if you can find a replacement tenant.
What to do if you have a dispute with your landlord?
If you run into trouble with your landlord because you cannot live peacefully in the property, you should lodge a complaint as quickly as possible by sending a letter by registered post to the landlord. Do not cease paying rent. Only a judge may request a reduction in rent if a landlord is deemed to have broken the law. For more information, you can download the tenant’s rights brochure for Luxembourg published by the Luxembourgish Consumers’ Union (Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs).
If your disagreement with your landlord concerns the setting of rent and/or additional rental expenses, you can apply to the Rent Committee to reduce the amount. Considered as conciliation bodies, the Rent Committees are set up at the communal administration offices. Their decisions do not have the status of judicial decisions and are only mandatory if the two parties expressly or tacitly accept them. If you are not satisfied with the Rent Committee’s decision, you can, within a month, file an appeal with the Justice of Peace (Justice de Paix) depending on the location of the building.
How to get back your rental deposit?
If your tenancy agreement requires a deposit to be paid, it is strongly recommended to carry out with your landlord (or the agency) an inventory check before you move into the property. During your initial inspection, make sure to note all and any damage you find and have it added to the inventory. If you find damage that you had not noticed prior to moving in, the landlord has no obligation to agree to this.
When you leave the dwelling, an exit inventory will be carried out. In principle, you are required to return the rented premises in the same condition they were at the start of the tenancy. Damage as a result of normal use, wear and tear or dilapidation is not considered as rental damage (e.g., small holes in the wall, slight changes in the colour of the paint, etc.). Once you have signed the exit inventory, returned the keys to the landlord and paid your final rents and charges, and as long as your landlord agrees that no repairs are necessary, you are entitled to get back the full deposit.
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1 London is not included in this rent data.
2 The situation could change soon. In its general housing policy published in December 2018 on the logement.public.lu site, the government planned to put in place a system that will ensure that agency fees won’t be unilaterally charged to tenants.