House in Belgium
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If you decided to expatriate to Belgium, housing is going to be the first thing to do on your list. Here is how to proceed to find an accommodation in Belgium. 

A healthy real estate

Belgium does not seem to have been a victim of the economic crisis when it comes to real estate. In general, renting and buying property have remained stable.

Where to live in Belgium depending on your native language?

Unless you speak the three languages (French, Dutch and German), you might want to live in a town that speaks your native language. Here is a reminder on the different zones in Belgium and languages spoken in them.

  • Flanders (North): Dutch (Flemish)
  • Wallonia (South): French (Walloon)
  • Eastern districts: German
  • Brussels, the Capital city, is a bilingual region that speaks both French and Flemish

Belgium is composed of 589 towns. That is to say: it's very easy to find the type of accommodation you need.

How to find your accommodation in Belgium?

Several websites dedicated to housing can help you find accommodation in chosen regions and zones whilst respecting your budget.

Most of the time, landlords put a sign outside their property. This way, you might find something by simply walking in the neighbourhood that interests you.

Several agencies can also help you find accommodation, taking into account all your needs. You may also ask agents to take care of everything and look for properties for you.

The tenancy agreement

Unlimited tenancy agreements don't exist anymore in Belgium. Therefore, landlords can offer you these four options:

  • A 9-year tenancy agreement
  • A short-term tenancy agreement: 3 years or less
  • Long-term tenancy agreement: more than 9 years
  • A lifelong tenancy agreement

A nine-year tenancy agreement is the most common. This contract does not actually mention the duration for the renting period, or it mentions an agreement of 3 to 9 years. The renting period starts when the tenant moves in for verbal agreements or on the date stipulated in the contract if it's a written agreement.

Short term tenancy agreement: if the renting period is no longer than 3 years, tenants have two options: sign successive tenancy agreements or sign one agreement for the entire renting period. This agreement can be extended only once, as a written agreement, detailing the exact same conditions as the original one. The duration of stay can't exceed 3 years.

Long-term tenancy agreement: this contract is for renting exceeding 9 years but still has a determined duration. The conditions are the same as the 9-year agreement.

Lifelong tenancy agreement: ends when the tenant dies. Landlords can't break this agreement themselves. On the other hand, tenants can, with a 3-month notice.

The deposit

In the case of damages and misconduct from the tenant, landlords ask for rental guarantees. However, this guarantee is mandatory only if the rental agreement mentions it. No law stipulates that tenants must give rental guarantees. The latest can equal up to three months of rent.

There are three different deposits:

  • A transfer on a blocked account on behalf of the tenant
  • Monthly payments by the tenant to the landlord
  • A contract between a financial institution and The Public Centre for Social Action for example

Refund of the deposit

Landlords have to give the deposit back to tenants when they move out. Obviously, the deposit is refunded entirely if the flat is intact and if the tenant always paid the rent on time. This refund is officialised by a letter or a form, signed by both parties.

The inventory

In Belgium, an inventory has to be made when a new tenant moves in and moves out. Both the landlord and the tenant have to be there. This is essential for the landlord to check the accommodation is intact before a new tenant moves in. If the accommodation is not intact, tenants can ask landlords to fix the issues. The inventory has to be filed via a document, dated, and signed by both parties. The inventory is part of the tenancy agreement.

The same inventory is made when a tenant moves out, in order to check that they leave the accommodation entirely intact.

The rent

There is no law regarding rent in Belgium. Landlords are free to set up the rent amount themselves. However, authorities have created a rent calculator. It allows tenants to know what amount they would pay for an accommodation depending on the set price of the contract, the date when it is signed, and the date when the tenant moves in.

Tenants also have to pay for any charges (water bills, gas, electricity, and communal areas upkeep.) They can also pay it as a fixed amount added to the rent. The amount would have been determined in the tenancy agreement.

What taxes for tenants?

Withholding taxes apply on rented properties, but only landlords are entitled to pay it. Therefore, this is illegal to ask for a tenant to pay taxes on a tenancy agreement.

Useful links:

Economy FGOV
ImmoWeb
Immovlan
Institute of Professional Real Estate Agents
Brussels Irisnet
Belgium Portal - Housing
Booking
EU Rentals
Logic Immo

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.