Another Privacy Regulation, but This Time on ‘Non-Personal Data’

Posted in data protection, digital single market, EU, European Union Law, GDPR, privacy

The European Union continues to roll out regulations in furtherance of the EU Digital Single Market, a strategy that covers digital marketing, e-commerce, and telecommunications. The GDPR went into force in May 2018, the new ePrivacy Regulation is planned for 2019, and on Friday, 9 November 2018, a new milestone was reached when the Council of the European Union approved another regulation that provides a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU (the Regulation). The EU Parliament already approved the Regulation on 4 October 2018.

Background

Electronic data are at the center of modern, innovative economic systems and societies. You could say a new “data economy” is emerging.

Besides personal data (the protection of which has strongly improved with the GDPR), non-personal data are becoming a greater source of value. Non-personal data includes data sets used for big data analytics with the aim of improving website functionality. In this respect, clickstream data are analyzed and used to make desired improvements.

At the moment, effective and efficient functioning of non-personal data processing and the development of the data economy in the EU are hampered by national laws. For example, member states use data localization requirements mandating that data be stored on a device that is physically present within the borders of a specific country. Furthermore, “vendor lock-in” practices in the private sector limit the free flow of non-personal data. “Vendor lock-in” is a situation in which a customer who uses a product or service cannot easily transition to the products or services of a competitor.

The Regulation aims to remove these restrictions and to provide for free movement of non- personal data within the EU by applying the following provisions:

Scope

The Regulation applies to the processing of electronic data other than personal data in the EU. “Processing” of data covers a wide range of data operations, such as collecting, filing, storing, using, and transferring. Such data processing should be provided by service providers to users residing or having an establishment in the EU, regardless of whether or not the provider is established in the EU. The data processing may also be carried out by a natural or legal person for their own needs, and residing or having an establishment in the EU.

Free movement of data within the EU

The data localization requirements shall no longer apply: under the Regulation, the location of non-personal data for storage or processing within the EU shall not be restricted to the territory of a member state. As such, free movement of data should be established. In practice, this means that a cloud service provider in the EU may decide for itself where it stores non-personal data.

Porting of data

To eliminate vendor lock-in practices, the Regulation provides for and encourages the development of codes of conduct for service providers. With these codes of conduct, consumers should be able to switch to other service providers more easily. Such codes of conduct focus, for example, on the provision of sufficient and clear information to consumers before a contract is concluded.

Single points of contact

Each member state shall appoint a single point of contact regarding the application of the Regulation. Such point of contact shall liaise with the designated points of contact in the other member states to discuss any issues regarding the Regulation.

Conclusion

The Regulation is another step towards the Single Digital Market and the free flow of data. It should make it easier for service providers to store and process non-personal data within the EU, while consumers should be able to switch between service providers more easily. It remains to be seen whether the Regulation will make a difference, considering that many data sets will contain both non-personal data and personal data, and a completely different regulation (the GDPR) applies for the latter.

The Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the EU within a couple of weeks. Six months after the date of publication, the Regulation enters into force without further required implementation.

Geen bestuursrechtelijke handhaving zonder verbodsbepaling

Posted in Dutch Real Estate Law

De Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State heeft in een uitspraak van 31 oktober 2018 (ECLI:NL:RVS:2018:3564) nog eens bevestigd dat het een bestuursorgaan niet vrijstaat handhavend op te treden (bijv. met een last onder dwangsom of bestuursdwang) wanneer in strijd wordt gehandeld met een specifieke wettelijke bepaling waaraan geen verbod is gekoppeld.

In deze zaak had een onderneming een nieuw pand gebouwd op een afstand van acht tot tien centimeter van het pand van een naastgelegen onderneming. Laatste was het daar niet mee eens. In de lokale bouwverordening is opgenomen dat tussen de bebouwing op twee percelen geen tussenruimte aanwezig mag zijn die minder dan één meter breed is. Daar werd dus niet aan voldaan. De naastgelegen onderneming had eerder dan ook bezwaar gemaakt tegen de omgevingsvergunning voor de nieuwbouw (vroeger de “bouwvergunning” genoemd). Dit bezwaar was echter te laat ingediend (na afloop van de bezwaartermijn) en dus niet ontvankelijk, zo was reeds in een andere procedure bepaald.

De naastgelegen onderneming had vervolgens een verzoek om handhaving ingediend bij het gemeentebestuur. Daarover gaat deze uitspraak. Het verzoek om handhaving is door burgemeester en wethouders afgewezen. Volgens de Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State was dat terecht. De betreffende bepalingen van de bouwverordening geven volgens de Afdeling geen zelfstandige bevoegdheid voor handhavend optreden, alleen al omdat aan deze specifieke regel uit de bouwverordening geen verbodsbepaling is verbonden. De vraag of het nieuwe bouwwerk in strijd is met de bouwverordening had aan de orde moeten worden gesteld in een procedure tegen de omgevingsvergunning, aldus de Afdeling.

Uit deze uitspraak blijkt eens te meer dat de overheid niet elke regel kan handhaven maar dat daarvoor een wettelijke basis moet zijn (het “legaliteitsbeginsel”). Ook benadrukt deze uitspraak nog eens het belang om alert te zijn op publicaties van de gemeente van verleende vergunningen of andere besluiten. Die publicaties kunnen worden gemonitord in het lokale sufferdje of op de website van de gemeente. Er zijn ook apps beschikbaar als hulpmiddel. Als er bezwaren zijn tegen een (ontwerp)vergunning, moet tijdig een zienswijze worden ingediend, bezwaar worden gemaakt of beroep worden ingesteld. Als de rechtsmiddelentermijn onbenut verstrijkt, zal de rechter in beginsel uitgaan van de juistheid van de vergunning. Dan kan alleen handhavend worden opgetreden als een verbodsbepaling wordt overtreden (in de wet of een vergunningvoorschrift).

 

Right of First Refusal: Please Specify the Scope!

Posted in Dutch Property Law, Dutch Real Estate Law, property law, real estate

In certain lease agreements we see a right of first refusal to purchase the leased property (voorkeursrecht tot koop van het gehuurde object), to the benefit of the tenant. Disputes may arise between the tenant and the landlord if it is unclear whether a transaction triggers the provision.

Such a dispute occurred between a famous Dutch warehouse (the tenant) and its landlords. Five parallel proceedings regarding the warehouses in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Maastricht, and The Hague were initiated by the tenant. On 19 September 2018, the District Court of Rotterdam (rechtbank Rotterdam) rendered a decision as to whether a right of first refusal could be triggered regarding the warehouse and accompanying parking garage in Rotterdam.

Context

A right of first refusal to purchase leased property (RoFR) typically prohibits the landlord from selling the leased property to a (third) party without offering the leased property first to the tenant. The conditions of such offer to the tenant should be equal or more favorable than those of the offer to the potential purchaser. Due to the importance of the RoFR and by way of incentivizing the landlord to adhere to this obligation, violation of the RoFR is usually subject to a substantial contractual penalty. The lease agreement would normally also contain provisions regarding the offering procedure (if the RoFR is triggered), the scope of the RoFR, and any other relevant conditions.

Background

In the underlying case before the Rotterdam court, the tenant previously was the owner of all its warehouses in the Netherlands until 2005. In that year, the warehouses were sold by way of a “sale-and-leaseback” transaction to the new (ultimate) owner (the Investor), the sole shareholder of several companies (the Propcos), which were also party to the transaction. The lease agreements entered upon this sale-and-leaseback each contained a RoFR. The scope of the RoFR extended to any legal actions that would have the same material effect as a direct sale of the properties.

After restructuring its real estate portfolio, the Investor’s ownership of the warehouse and parking garage in Rotterdam can be visualized as follows:

In 2017, the Investor sold all shares in the capital of the Holding to a consortium of purchasers. The conditions of the sale and transfer were laid out in a share purchase agreement. As a result of the transaction, (ultimate) ownership of the warehouse and parking garage was transferred from the Investor to the consortium. However, the relevant Propcos remained as direct owner of the warehouse and the parking garage, and therefore as landlord.

The tenant brought proceedings before the District Court, arguing the transaction triggered the RoFR and therefore the warehouses should have been offered for purchase directly to the tenant (as opposed to an offer of shares of the ultimate holding company).

 Verdict

The District Court of Rotterdam ruled that the RoFR was not triggered and there was no obligation to offer the properties directly or indirectly via shares to the tenant. It substantiated its verdict as follows:

The RoFR is unclear and should be interpreted in accordance with the general rules under applicable Dutch law regarding interpretation. It is well-established case law in the Netherlands that, as a principle, the wording of an agreement is the starting point to interpret an agreement and any provision therein, but ultimately the parties’ intent is decisive (the so called Haviltex doctrine). However, the court ruled that a more literal interpretation of the RoFR should be applied in this case in light of:

  • the capacity of the parties (being commercial parties);
  • the fact that the parties hired professional advisors to negotiate and draft the lease agreement; and
  • the fact that the current landlord is a different party than the initial landlord. Hence, the current landlord could not have been aware of the initial landlord’s intent.

The court ruled that the RoFR only applies in case of a direct sale by the Propcos, meaning only in case of a change of identity of the landlord. According to the court, any transaction entered by another (related) party is irrelevant. If the parties intended for the RoFR to cover any other transaction, such as the sale of the shares of the (ultimate) holding company, they should have made this explicitly clear in the lease. The change of the (ultimate) owner is legally and factually different than the sale of the properties by the Propcos.

The court also found it plausible that the parties intended to exclude the disputed transaction from the RoFR; otherwise, the RoFR could very well have lowered the value of the real estate portfolio. Moreover, neither the Investor nor the Propcos have taken any actions that might frustrate the tenant’s rights, according to the court. Therefore, the court dismissed all claims by the tenant.

Conclusion

If an RoFR is intended to extend to an indirect sale of a leased property, this should be explicitly stated. To effect such RoFR, the (ultimate) shareholder of the landlord should assume the obligations under the RoFR, for example by way of co-signing the lease agreement.

Hogere royaltyvergoeding filmmakers op grond van Bestseller bepaling in Auteurswet

Posted in Intellectual Property Litigation

Op 27 juli 2018 heeft de Geschillencommissie Auteurscontractenrecht (“Geschillencommissie”) voor het eerst een uitspraak gedaan over de bestseller bepaling. Op grond van deze bepaling in de Auteurswet hebben makers, zoals de schrijver van een film of boek, een regisseur, acteur, journalist of een ontwerper, recht op een hogere vergoeding indien de oorspronkelijk overeengekomen vergoeding niet in verhouding staat tot de opbrengst door de exploitatie van het werk.

De makers van de film ‘Soof 2’, zijnde de schrijfster en regisseuse van de film, dienden vorig jaar een klacht in bij de Geschillencommissie. De schrijfster en regisseuse zijn van mening dat de film Soof 2 als bestseller moet worden aangemerkt en dat zij hierdoor recht hebben op een hogere royaltyvergoeding. Een royaltyvergoeding is een vergoeding die wordt betaald voor het gebruik van andermans intellectueel eigendomsrecht. In dit geval gaat het om het gebruik van het auteursrecht van de schrijfster en de regisseuse van de film. De film Soof 2 was een groot succes in de Nederlandse bioscopen en trok veel meer bezoekers dan verwacht. De film bracht in totaal ruim 8 miljoen euro op.

Op basis van de overeenkomst met de producenten van de film hebben de schrijfster en regisseuse recht op een royaltyvergoeding van respectievelijk 5 en 7 procent. De schrijfster en regisseuse vinden dit percentage onevenredig in verhouding tot de opbrengst van de film Soof 2. Ook vinden zij dat dit percentage niet in verhouding staat tot de royaltyvergoeding van 50% die de producenten van de film op basis van de overeenkomst ontvingen. De schrijfster en regisseuse betogen dat zij op een eerlijke manier mee moeten delen in de opbrengst van de succesfilm.

Per 1 juli 2015 is de Nederlandse Auteurswet aangepast en het Auteurscontractenrecht in werking getreden. De Auteurswet kent sindsdien een zogenaamde “Bestseller” bepaling. Deze is terug te vinden in artikel 25d Auteurswet.

Uitspraak

De Geschillencommissie overwoog dat de schrijfster en regisseuse in zekere mate afhankelijk zijn van de producenten omdat deze afspraken maken met distributeurs van de film. Aangezien de film Soof 2 zeer succesvol was oordeelt de Geschillencommissie dat de royaltyvergoedingen die de schrijfster en regisseuse hebben ontvangen te laag zijn ten opzichte van de opbrengsten die de film heeft gegenereerd. De commissie oordeelt dat de producenten de royaltyvergoeding van de schrijfster en de regisseuse met 5% moeten verhogen naar respectievelijk 10 en 12 procent.

Dringend eigen gebruik toch niet aannemelijk

Posted in Dutch Real Estate Law

Een verhuurder van horecaruimte kan een huurovereenkomst tegen het einde van een termijn (bij een overeenkomst voor bepaalde tijd) of tussentijds (bij een overeenkomst voor onbepaalde tijd) opzeggen indien hij aannemelijk maakt dat hij de horecaruimte dringend nodig heeft voor eigen gebruik. Met ‘aannemelijk maken’ wordt bedoeld dat de rechter niet gebonden is aan de regels van bewijsrecht en dat hem een grote mate van vrijheid toekomt bij het vormen van zijn oordeel over het voldoende vaststaan van de feiten. Dat de gehanteerde maatstaven sterk uiteen kunnen lopen, blijkt uit een recente uitspraak.

Gewijzigde omstandigheden

Op 31 juli 2018 heeft het gerechtshof ’s-Hertogenbosch een arrest gewezen waarmee zij een vonnis van rechtbank Zeeland-West-Brabant, zittingsplaats Tilburg bekrachtigt waarin werd geoordeeld dat een verhuurder het “dringend eigen gebruik” van een horecaruimte niet voldoende aannemelijk kon maken en de huurovereenkomst daarom niet kon beëindigen.

In het voorkomende geval wilde de verhuurder de huurovereenkomst beëindigen om de horecaruimte na een ingrijpende verbouwing te exploiteren als ‘hoogwaardig boetiekhotel’. De verhuurder had inmiddels de nodige voorbereidingen getroffen. Hij had een aannemer een vooronderzoek laten doen naar zijn plannen, een gespecialiseerd bureau een behoefteonderzoek laten uitvoeren, en een architect schetsen laten opstellen en die laten indienen bij de betreffende gemeente.

Ondanks al deze voorbereidingen acht het Hof het onvoldoende aannemelijk dat de verhuurder het gehuurde dringend nodig heeft voor eigen gebruik. Het vooronderzoek is volgens het Hof niet specifiek toegespitst op de plannen ten aanzien van het gehuurde. Omdat het behoefteonderzoek drie jaar oud en dus gedateerd is, kan volgens het Hof niet uitgesloten worden dat de behoefte op de hotelmarkt inmiddels is gewijzigd. Omdat het schetsontwerp van het monumentale pand slechts besproken is met een stedenbouwkundige en niet ook met een monumentenadviseur, kan ook aan het schetsontwerp en het contact met de gemeente weinig waarde worden toegekend.

Realiseerbaarheid gebruik

Uit eerdere rechtspraak (De Zilvermeeuw/Victoria, Scheltema/Cornelis en Tokkie/Michael) is naar voren gekomen dat beëindiging van een huurcontract op grond van ‘dringend persoonlijk gebruik ’niet kan worden toegewezen als het voorgenomen gebruik om praktische en/of juridische redenen gronden niet realiseerbaar is. De verhuurder moet een wezenlijk belang hebben bij beëindiging van de huur en als het voorgenomen gebruik niet realiseerbaar is, ontbreekt het vereiste belang.

Uit dezelfde rechtspraak kwam ook naar voren dat de verhuurder niet hoeft aan te tonen dat alle benodigde vergunningen voor een voorgenomen verbouwing ook inderdaad zullen worden verleend. Enige onzekerheid staat dan ook niet in de weg aan beëindiging.

Nieuwe norm?

Het lijkt erop dat het gerechtshof ’s-Hertogenbosch de lat voor de verhuurder hoger heeft gelegd dan op grond van gangbare jurisprudentie te verwachten was. Als de beoordeling door het Hof de nieuwe norm wordt, dienen verhuurders goed beslagen ten ijs te komen en worden ze mogelijk gedwongen om hoge te kosten om de plannen met het gehuurde verder uit te werken, ter onderbouwing van de praktische en juridische haalbaarheid van de opzegging terwijl het tijdens het maken van de kosten nog niet zeker is of de vordering tot beëindiging wordt toegewezen.

The European Account Preservation Order: A Method for Debt Recovery Throughout the EU

Posted in Corporate Law, debt recovery, EU, European Union Law

Introduction

The rules governing seizure of a cross-border bank account in the EU follow from the EU Regulation establishing a European Account Preservation Order (EAPO). Such Regulation was created to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters. Under this seizure procedure, a creditor will be able to obtain an EAPO to freeze funds in the bank account of a debtor in another EU country (excluding the United Kingdom and Denmark). Before the Regulation, cross-border account seizure required applications to the courts in each country in which a debtor held a bank account. Since the introduction of the EAPO, this is no longer necessary.

EAPO Procedure Requirements

An EAPO procedure applies only to cases in which the debtor holds his bank account in i) an EU country (except the United Kingdom and Denmark) other than the country of the court issuing the order; or ii) an EU country other than the one in which the debtor is domiciled. An application can be made before, during, or after the main proceedings if the creditor convinces the court that there is a real risk that the later collection of the creditor’s claim against the debtor will be made more difficult (e.g., as result of embezzlement of funds).

To obtain an EAPO, the creditor must submit a standard form application to the same court that will handle the creditor’s claim against the debtor. The creditor should include a description of his claim and supporting evidence. Also, the creditor must identify the debtor’s bank, and if known, the bank account number.

If a creditor files for an EAPO before his claim has been recognized in a court award, additional conditions apply to obtain an EAPO. First, the creditor must provide evidence that his claim is likely to be recognized by the court. Second, the creditor must provide security in order to protect the debtor against misuse of the EAPO by the creditor. The court determines the amount of the security and the manner in which it should be provided (e.g., security deposit or other type of guarantee).

EAPO Procedure Effects

The court will decide on the application within 5-10 days. Once issued, an EAPO will be automatically recognized throughout the EU without further court intervention. Banks are required to give effect to the EAPO without delay and to report to the creditor the amount seized within three business days.

The creditor must also take action after submitting the application: he must file his claim against the debtor within 30 days after submitting his EAPO application or within 14 days of the EAPO’s date of issue (whichever date is later). The bank account of the debtor will be seized up to the amount specified in the EAPO.

Conclusion

The EAPO brings many advantages compared to historically difficult cross-border seizures. The procedure is faster, lower-cost, and much easier for the creditor. The threshold to apply for seizure of an account in another EU country should now be significantly lower than before the Regulation. However, the requirement that the creditor provide security for the duration of the account seizure can become prohibitively burdensome.

EU and U.S. Legislation on International Data Transfers: Change and Challenges

Posted in data protection, EU, European Union Law, GDPR, Intellectual Property Litigation

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought important changes to the legal grounds for data transfers between the EU and the United States. Simultaneously, a new act in the United States has come into force that also affects data transfers between the United States and the EU. This act, the Clarifying Overseas Use of Data Act (the CLOUD Act) creates legal uncertainty and could lead to violations of GDPR.

Continue reading.

Vertical Agreements: Permitted Passive Sales and Public Procurement in the EU

Posted in Antitrust, Competition Law, EU, European Union Law

Under EU competition law, it is allowed in most vertical agreements to grant distributors exclusivity for a territory or customer group. Selective distribution is the well-known exception, where no geographic restrictions may be imposed on any level in the selective network. The EU’s Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) allows suppliers to restrict active sales by a distributor as to the territories of exclusive customers reserved by the principal or allocated to other exclusive distributors (provided this does not restrict the customers of such distributors).

Passive sales may not be restricted. The Guidelines on Vertical Restraints of the European Commission (the Guidelines) define passive sales as follows

[R]esponding to unsolicited requests from individual customers including delivery of goods or services to such customers. General advertising or promotion that reaches customers in other distributors’ (exclusive) territories or customer groups but which is a reasonable way to reach customers outside those territories or customer groups, for instance to reach customers in one’s own territory, are considered passive selling.

Sales over the internet are included in the Guidelines’ definition of passive sales.

The qualification of a passive sale was recently expanded in an interesting Austrian case, which may have an impact on procurement in the other EU countries.

The Austrian National Competition Authority (NCA) received a complaint from a public hospital operator with respect to difficulties procuring surgical instruments from distributors abroad through an EU-wide public procurement process. Other distributors in the EU were allegedly unable to sell the medical devices due to exclusive distribution rights granted by the supplier to an Austrian distributor.

The NCA found that participation in a public procurement procedure amounts to a passive sale, which cannot be subject to restrictions in distribution agreements. In response to the concerns raised by the NCA, the parties have offered to eliminate the restrictions identified and clarify distribution agreements in accordance with EU competition law. On 22 May 2018, the NCA requested that the Austrian cartel court make the commitments binding. Such a decision by the cartel court would make no determination as to the existence of a competition law infringement, but the underlying definition of a passive sale may be a compelling precedent.

Given the implications of restricting passive sales, which is clearly prohibited under EU law and many national competition laws, parties should consider amending their existing distribution contracts.

Dutch Data Protection Authority on the Move: Audit of Dutch Hospitals and Dutch Health Care Insurers

Posted in Announcements, data protection, EU, European Union Law, GDPR

Announcement by Dutch DPA

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (Dutch DPA) announced on 21 August 2018 that it has audited 91 hospitals and 33 health care insurers regarding the obligation of these organizations to appoint a data protection officer. This ‘new’ requirement follows from the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May 2018.

Background on appointment of data protection officers

The appointment of a data protection officer is, among other things, required for organizations that collect special categories of data as a core activity. One of these special categories is data revealing genetic and biometric information or data concerning health. Collecting such data is a core activity of hospitals and health care insurers, as this is inherent to their services. Consequently, these organizations are required to appoint a data protection officer under the GDPR.

Findings of Dutch DPA

The Dutch DPA discovered that two hospitals neglected to satisfy their notification requirements as to the appointment of their data protection officers. The Dutch DPA has given these two hospitals a four-week grace period to appoint a data protection officer and end their GDPR infringement. This grace period seems to indicate that the Dutch DPA did not in this case immediately impose a fine or an order subject to a penalty in spite of these GDPR infringements.

Another point of focus during this audit was whether hospitals and health care insurers had published the contact details of their data protection officer on their website. Almost 25 percent of the audited organizations had neglected this step.

To be GDPR compliant, these organizations are required to implement these measures.

More audits to come?

This audit of hospitals and health care insurers provides some insight on how the Dutch DPA will approach audits and GDPR enforcement moving forward.

The Dutch DPA made clear that it will continue performing audits on a random basis to check whether companies and organizations are in compliance with the GDPR. Such checks may include the following (to name a few):

  • whether the contact details of the data protection officer are published on the website
  • whether a notification of the appointment of the data protection officer was made to the Dutch DPA
  • whether records of processing activities are maintained (a data controller is required under the GDPR to maintain a record of processing activities that take place under its responsibility)

The Dutch DPA has also previously audited governmental organizations for the appointment of data protection officers and large private organizations for keeping records of processing activities. In our view, more unanticipated audits from the Dutch DPA should be expected shortly.

Another Major Step Towards a New Environment and Planning Act in the Netherlands

Posted in Announcements, property law, real estate

The Dutch government is working on a major overhaul of the statutory environmental framework in the Netherlands. In this context, four key environmental decrees (AMvBs) (the Decrees) were adopted and published in the Dutch Government Gazette on Aug. 31, 2018.

The publication of the Decrees is part of a major and fundamental revision of practically all Dutch environmental legislation. Dozens of acts and decrees and hundreds of rules will be bundled into one Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet) (the Act), including the Decrees. The Act itself was published in the Government Gazette on April 26, 2016.

This legislative program includes significant changes. Statutory obligations to attain a permit will, for example, be reduced or replaced with more general environmental rules. As a result, the industry expects a shift from permitting to supervision and enforcement. In addition, facilities with large amounts of hazardous substances will be exposed to administrative fines if they violate hazardous substances regulations (such a measure currently is not available for administrative authorities in the enforcement of hazardous substances).

Further, the municipal zoning plan (currently a key administrative instrument used to assign certain uses to plots of land) will be replaced with a new instrument, the environment plan (omgevingsplan), which should include comprehensive environmental rules (and not just the designated use of a plot). Based on the Act, local authorities may also choose to abolish the (current) requirement to attain a building permit, if they see fit. These amendments may have a major impact on development projects in the Netherlands.

The Act and the Decrees are scheduled to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2021. This allows for a period of transition during which governmental authorities and the industry can take the necessary preparatory actions.

 

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