Category Archives: Regulatory Compliance Netherlands

Dutch Home Owners Association gets tougher rules

New rules for the Dutch Home Owner Association are meant to improve the operation or the Netherlands HOA.

Dutch Home Owners Association

Home Owners Association in the Netherlands

The Dutch Owners’ Association or VvE ensures the property is well maintained and insured and deals with communal expenses. If you buy a apartment Netherlands you are automatically a member of this Owners Association and bound to the applicable rules (reglement). The Association of Owners in the Netherlands is responsible for the communal parts of the building like the halls, roof, pipes, walls, stairs, etc. You pay a contribution to the VvE for maintenance, insurance, communal expenses.

New rules apply as per January 1 2018 on the Dutch Owners Association

  • a minimum amount for large scale maintenance should be reserved by the VvE in a separate account
  • the VvE should have a large scale maintenance plan
  • large scale maintenance plan should stipulate the amount to be reserved
  • works to bed and should be budgeted and planned to be done within 10 years
  • the VvE can obtain an loan for maintenance work.

Home Owners Association can obtain a loan

The VvE can obtain a bank loan or a loan with a special Fund for large scale maintenance works. The owner of an apartment is only liable for his share in the loan. When the house is sold then the debt  and/or liability of the home owner will be transferred to the new  owner. The notary who deals with transfer of property in the Netherlands will specify this in the deed of transfer.

Manager of Dutch Association of Owners 

The manager (beheerder) of the owners association will conduct the management over the communal sections and the communal property. Decisions of the owners association are taken in meetings, the assembly of the VvE, to be conducted according to the applicable rules. The meetings will take place at least within six months after the end of the financial year. Assemblies can also be arranged as often as necessary. Decisions by the meeting of owners are taken by majority vote. For specific decisions, like changing the deed of the division (splitsingsakte), or not reserving funds for maintenance,  4/5 majority is necessary. Also a separate set of HOA rules may apply (huishoudelijk reglement).

 

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Employer’s liability and asbestos claims

An employer can be sued in the Netherlands in case an employee has been exposed to asbestos in his working environment. Dutch Class Actions against employers have been enabled by recent legislation.

Dutch Law Firm Employers Liability Asbestos

Asbestos claims and class actions

Dutch Law Firms are up for a new challenge. Dutch Courts have expanded the scope of employer liability with regards to asbestos lawsuits.  Employer liability may therefor rise in the Netherlands for the exposure of employees to asbestos, chemicals or diesel fume. My law firm provides risk advisory services to manage risk and regulatory compliance requirements.

Old buildings and asbestos

Asbestos can still be found in a number of workplaces and several professions in particular have a greater likelihood of exposure. Especially old (office) building and ships very also contain dangerous asbestos. Old office buildings may nor example hold asbestos in roofing, floor tiles, fireproofing material, and pipe or boiler insulation. Contractors should take special care when employees work in old constructions.

Asbestos Legislation and products

Lawyers need to check the relevant legal definition of asbestos, I refer to European Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (as amended) and Directive No 2009/148/EC, which define asbestos (for the purposes of the respective Regulation and Directive), as the fibrous silicates, such as Actinolite, CAS No 77536-66-4; Asbestos grunerite (amosite) CAS No 12172-73-5; Anthophyllite, CAS No 77536-67-5; Chrysotile, CAS No 12001-29-5; Crocidolite, CAS No 12001-28-4 and Tremolite, CAS No 77536-68-6.  Under art. 4.37(a) of the Dutch Working Conditions Decree and art. 1(b) of the Product (Asbestos) Decree, asbestos is defined in a similar way.

Conformity Statement

For manufacturers it is prudent and proper risk management to issue conformity statements also contain representations regarding your products compliance with regulations surrounding asbestos content or chemical substance, even if not obliged by law.

Asbestos in buildling Dutch Lawyer

Netherlands Regulation on Asbestos

In the Netherlands, a legal definition of asbestos mirroring the definition under the Regulation and Directive is to be found in the implementing legislation of the aforementioned Directives No 1999/77/EC and 2009/148/EC, the Product (Asbestos) Decree of 17 December 2004  and the Netherlands Working Conditions Decree  respectively. The Dutch Legislation on asbestos is spread out is several statutes. Feel free to consult me or one of our asbestos lawyers in our law firm  if you have any questions.

Working Conditions and Asbestos Fibres

OK, still there? Products containing asbestos (asbesthoudende producten) are defined as “products containing one of the aforementioned fibrous silicates” (art. 4.37(b) of the Working Conditions Decree). Asbestos fibres (asbestvezels) are defined (for the purposes of the Working Conditions Decree) as asbestos particles longer than 5 micrometres, less than 3 micrometres wide and with a length to width ratio of more than 3:1 (art. 4.37(c) of the Working Conditions Decree). The Product (Asbestos) Decree further distinguishes between “serpentine asbestos” (chrysotile) and “amphibole asbestos): actinolite, amosite, anthophylliet. Please call for anny liability issues under Dutch Law you may encounter.

European ban on Asbestos

In the European Union there is a complete ban on asbestos. This ban has been implemented by a succession of European directives dating back to 1983. Directive 83/478/EEC implemented a ban on marketing and use of asbestos fibres; crocidolite, chrysotile, amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite and tremolite, and products containing these substances (subject to certain exceptions for products containing crocidolite) by adding them to the list of “substances and preparations” banned from being placed on the market or used pursuant to Directive 76/769/EEC.

Asbestos Laws in EU Member States

The European rules regarding asbestos are contained in directives which have to be implemented by the Member States in their national legislation. This means that different rules may apply in different Member States. The initial partial ban was extended by successive directives,  including Directive 1999/77/EC, which removed the exceptions for crocidolite with effect from 1 January 2005. Directive 76/769/EEC was replaced by Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and establishing the European Chemicals Agency (the “Regulation”). The Regulation only applies to products “containing these fibres added intentionally”.

 

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Compliance and Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

With the GDPR the work of compliance and data officers will not become sexier. Companies in the EU area and their lawyers should work on the compliance with the new requirements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In force as per May 25, 2017. My lawfirm has prepared clients for the GDPR requirements.

Legal Advice on GDPR Data Protection

Personal Data in Europe under GDPR

Companies using personal data of European citizens should work on the compliance with the new GDPR requirements. Companies should have privacy notices and policies and analyse the legal basis on which personal data is used. Some of the issues the GDPR brings on:

  • companies outside the EU targeting consumers in the EU will be subject to the GDPR
  • data processors have direct obligations to comply with
  • data controllers and processors must appoint a Data Protection Officer (the DPO)
  • a written record of processing activities should be maintained carried out on behalf of each controller
  • consent to processing of someone’s personal data must be as easy to withdraw as to give and must be ‘explicit’ for sensitive data
  • data subject will have a right to object if personal data is processed for direct marketing
  • data controllers must notify most data breaches to the DPA; Fines of up to 4% of total turnover can be imposed.

Regulatory and compliance on data processing has gone to the next level with the GDPR. Compliance and data officers will have extra work to do.

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Short term rent restrictions unlawful?

Dutch Airbnb rentals get tough treatment

Short-stay rentals typically appear to be regulated at a municipal/regional level and thus differing regulations can be seen within a given country. The serious increase of short stay rental activity  in recent years, cities around the world are looking at ways to reform their regulations or have already taken actions to do so.

short stay rental

Scruffy Dutch law discourages landlords

Because the traditional regulatory frameworks were largely designed without these new additions to the short-term accommodation market in mind, there is a danger that they will be ill-adapted to application to Airbnb-style providers or that such providers may entirely fall outside of the scope of the regulatory framework. As a lawyer focused on human rights article 1 EP (European Protocol) comes in the picture, the right to property, in particular the right to derive profit from property recognised by the the European Court in the case Hutten-Czapska vs Poland.

A more social consideration is also used by the Court:
Property, including privately owned property, has also a social function which, given the appropriate circumstances, must be put into the equation to determine whether the fair balance has been struck between the demands of the general interest of the community and the individual’s fundamental rights.

Ban on airnbnb rentals unjusified

In my Dutch law firm we notice a increasing call from property owners that do not accept de local restrictions e.g. in the City of Amsterdam.  To my opinion the balance has gone to far in the protection mode and the basic right of the landlord to rent including short stay rent is infringed.

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