Renovation is taken to mean both demolition with replacement new building and partial renovation by making a modification or an addition. Renovation is therefore is a broad concept in tenancy law. Book 7, article 220 of the Dutch Civil Code (DCC) provides for the lessee’s obligation of cooperation in case of urgent work or a scheduled renovation of the leased business space. This provision may be derogated from in the lease, so it is very important to look closely at the lease as well when determining the legal situation. The general rule is that the lessee has to permit the execution of the urgent work, even if this impairs his enjoyment of the leased space. Urgent work is all work that cannot be postponed until the end of the lease without disadvantage.
The core of the renovation scheme is that the lessor has to start by making a reasonable renovation proposal. It may be advisable to engage the assistance of a tenancy lawyer for this purpose, as the renovation proposal has to meet various requirements. In any case, the nature and duration of the work, the financial consequences to be expected for the lessee, and the option to offer the lessee alternative business space for the duration of the work should be taken into account.
If the lessee does not accept the proposal concerning the scheduled renovation of the business space, the lessor will have to serve a summons and ask the court to state that the proposal that was made is reasonable and force the lessee to cooperate. In these proceedings, the lessor only has to demonstrate plausibly that he urgently needs the leased property, or part of it, for purposes of renovation. The burden of proof therefore does not lie with the lessor, who for example does not have to prove that the required permits have been applied for and that there is an approved building plan. Extensive litigation has been conducted by lawyers on situations like these. Case law shows that courts fairly quickly assume that the lessor really needs the retail property for renovation. In that case, the interests will not be weighed and the court will have to allow the claim. This means that the lessee’s interests in continuing the lease are not taken into account by the court in its decision.
In such situations, it is important for both the lessee and the lessor that the procedural requirements set by the law are met in a timely and proper manner. A tenancy lawyer may offer assistance in such cases. The AMS tenancy lawyer assists the lessee as well as the lessor.