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New laws and changes as of 1 July 2021

On 1 July 2021, a number of changes will be implemented in Dutch or European law. On top of those, some changes will also occur within the financial and energy sectors. You may find that these impact your finances or influence your spending habits. Read on to stay informed.

New deposits on small plastic bottles

Paying a deposit (statiegeld) on larger plastic and glass bottles has been the norm in the Netherlands for decades. You pay the deposit at the moment of purchase, obtaining a refund when you return the bottles to a shop. Until now, however, that was not the case for smaller plastic drinks bottles – which you’re most likely to buy on the go and dispose of directly after use.

But as of 1 July 2021, bottles smaller than 1 litre will also be eligible for the deposit scheme, so don’t immediately throw away your empties (hopefully you were already recycling them). Expect to pay 15 cents extra per bottle, so if a price is marked as €1, you’ll pay €1.15 at the checkout. The goal, of course, is to increase the reuse and recycling of materials, so hopefully the amended deposit scheme will inspire some good habits amongst us all.

Housing rents

The social housing sector in the Netherlands (rents up to €752,33) will see no rent increases this year.

For the private sector (rents over €752,33), a rent increase of up to 2.4% is permitted. Please note, there is no threshold for the increase of service costs in the private sector. But landlords must always provide a clear cost breakdown of why service costs are being raised.

Always know your housing rights in the Netherlands. If in doubt, seek advice from experts like !WOON.

New European VAT rules for e-commerce

If you’re in the habit of shopping online from retailers outside of the EU, there is an important regulation change on 1 July. Until now, purchases with a value lower than €22 were free of VAT obligations upon arrival in the EU. This will no longer be the case.

Thus, online purchases of small items from the likes of China, the United States or even the United Kingdom will require the collection of VAT upon arrival (unless otherwise collected and paid in advance by the retailer). What’s more, your shipping courier is likely to charge you a fixed service fee (the cost will vary per provider) for paying any due VAT during the import procedure.

Of course, if you are receiving gifts from outside the EU, you should not have to pay VAT or import taxes, provided the value is less than €45 and the contents are not restricted or prohibited.

The minimum wage is increasing

The minimum wage in the Netherlands will increase on 1 July 2021. The new minimum salary for employers who are 21 and over will be: €1701.80 per month, €392.55 per week, or €78.51 per day.

Negative savings rates at major banks

Although this isn’t a blanket change in law or policy, many Dutch banks have been warning that a change in savings rates has been coming for some time now. A negative savings rate will mean that rather than a bank paying interest on the balance of a savings account, the holder will instead pay the bank a small percentage. Depending on the balance, this could mean a loss of hundreds or thousands of euros per year.

In most cases, the negative savings rates being implemented by banks such as ING, Rabobank, ABN Amro and SNS Bank will only come into effect for accounts with a balance over €100,000. The negative rates and policies vary by bank, so it’s good to stay informed about your own bank’s policies. If you are going to be affected, the best solution may be to split your savings between multiple banks.

New rules for property valuations

As of 1 July, new European rules will apply to property valuations (taxatierapporten) when arranging a mortgage for a house purchase. A property valuation is a standard part of the process, typically required by banks to ensure a property is worth the purchase price and the value of the requested mortgage.

Recently, some banks and finance providers were providing a hybrid valuation method that is quicker and cheaper. However, the change will require that many valuations can only be carried out by officially licensed agencies. This could result in valuations costing hundreds of euros extra.

There are still ongoing debates and disputes within the industry and the Dutch government. It is therefore important to follow the advice from your bank or mortgage adviser, ensuring that you will have a valid property valuation if required. And if you are planning on purchasing a home anytime soon, check out these 8 steps to buying a house in the Netherlands.

Energy prices are increasing

Last year brought good news: energy prices dropped. This summer, unfortunately energy prices are increasing again. Changes on 1 July 2021 will primarily affect the variable tariffs for electricity and gas for most of the major energy providers. If your contract recently ended, you may find yourself on a variable rate, causing your monthly energy bills to increase. If this is the case, or if your energy contract is ending soon, the best option is to shop around and choose a new contract for one or three years.

No more unwanted telesales

As of 1 July, businesses in the Netherlands will no longer be allowed to approach consumers for the purpose of telesales without express consent. If there is an ongoing relationship with existing customers, calls will remain permitted for an undisclosed period. Of course, consumers will be able to request that businesses no longer contact them by phone. And in situations where telesales are permitted, companies must use a recognisable number – no ‘private number’ or ‘telephone number withheld’.