Accommodation in Charleroi

Updated 2023-10-09 11:21

Charleroi is a major hotspot in Belgium. It's the third most populated city in the country, and it attracts many expats.

Charleroi, the third most populated city in Belgium

Charleroi is a French-speaking city in the region of Wallonia. The city is pretty famous in numerous fields. The city spans 554.55 square km and is a true European railway and transport hub. Charleroi is an industrial city specializing in the glass and steel industry, chemistry, mechanical and electrical building.

However, Charleroi also chose to remain a cultural center and offered many theaters, spectacles, and museums. Sports infrastructures and clubs are everywhere in the city, attracting many families. The Wallonia region chose Charleroi for the Forem headquarters and the Walloon Society for Social Credit.

Charleroi, a recovering city

Carolophenix is a project launched in 2013 dedicated to refreshing the principal zones in the city center and the main streets of the city. This project is meant to attract more families and offer them an excellent place to live, highlighting all the advantages of the city.

The Charleroi metropolitan area (Charleroi métropole) has 30 boroughs and around 600,000 residents. In Charleroi itself, there are over 202,000 residents.

While Charleroi didn't have such a great history, it's rebuilding itself into something extraordinary. People call it the “new Berlin”, as it's quickly transformed into a green space. It's the greenest city in all of Wallonia, as it has 17 parks, 65 hectares of flowerbeds, 37 kilometers of hedgerows, and private gardens. It's also a cultural hotspot. For example, old factories have been converted into bars, restaurants, art galleries, etc.

The districts in Charleroi

Charleroi is made up of 15 districts. Of course, you have the central district of Charleroi. You also have the communities of Dampremy, Lodelinsart, Gilly, Montignies-sur-Sambre, Couillet, Marcinelle, Mont-sur-Marchienne, Marchienne-au-Pont, Monceau-sur-Sambre, Goutroux, Roux, Jumet, Gosselies, and Ransart.

You'll also find nine neighboring municipalities. They are Les Bons Villers, Fleurus, Châtelet, Gerpinnes, Ham-sur-Heure-Nalinnes, Montigny-le-Tilleul, Fontaine-l'Évêque, Courcelles, and Pont-à-Celles.

How to find accommodation in Charleroi

Many websites offer flats and houses to rent in Charleroi. Don't hesitate to search for it online.

You can also ask for help here:

  • General and operative direction for city planning, housing, heritage, and energy;
  • Housing institution;
  • Housing management.

If you are in Charleroi, consult real estate agencies or find signs on display outside properties to rent.

Temporary accommodation in Charleroi

Before you find a property to rent in Charleroi, you must stay in temporary accommodations. The first resort is hotels, as these usually have short-term vacancies, and you can check out the next morning if you sign a lease for an apartment. For example, the Novotel Charleroi Centre is an excellent choice since it's located in the city center and connects you to the Rive Gauche shopping mall, so you won't have to go far to do your shopping.

If you have a tight budget, there are also some budget hotels that cost just €30/night if you arrive in the right season. These usually have good amenities as well, such as wifi, gyms, pools, etc. That way, you can still have a good quality of life while searching for the perfect place to stay long-term in Charleroi.

There are also many hotels for those who want to stay close to the airport. For instance, there's Ibis Budget Charleroi Airport, which you can get to quickly right after you land in Belgium.

Hotels can be quite pricey, though. Besides budget hotels, an alternative is to stay in hostels. However, there aren't many choices in this city. There's just the Charleroi Youth Hostel and C.a.c.e.a.c. Asbl. The crowd is on the younger side (under 30), so if you're older, you might not fit in very well. Also, you'll have to share a room with other people and the bathroom. The private rooms for two have their bathrooms, but the prices they charge can be on par with hotels, so you might be better off booking a hotel instead.

Bed and breakfasts (such as Airbnb) are also a good choice. These allow you to rent out large spaces, even entire villas. And if you need temporary accommodations for longer than a week or two, hotels and hostels can get expensive. With B&Bs, they can as well, but in many cases, you can negotiate the prices with the owners to save some money, as they'll be willing to lower the fee for a good guest who'll stay for a bit longer.

Another choice for more extended temporary accommodations in Charleroi is aparthotels. These are furnished apartments where you can stay, and they have rooms, living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. It'll be like living in an actual apartment, but it'll be serviced, so you don't have to worry about housekeeping chores. These can be pricier, but on a long-term basis, it's more affordable since you'll be able to cook your own food, and weekly/monthly prices are cheaper than daily hotel prices.

Student accommodation in Charleroi

To make things easier, you should check with your university to see if they have housing. If so, ask for more information and apply early if you decide it's right. That way, you'll avoid missing out on better accommodations.

For some students, living in a dorm situation isn't ideal. In that case, you can always find student kots or student rooms. You can try searching for them yourself, but you can always ask for help from professionals like the Ener'J Center (Centre Ener'J in French) and Youth Service of the CPAS (Service jeunesse du CPAS in French), both youth services.

Accommodation in Charleroi

Renting in Charleroi entails three options: rooms, studios, and apartments.

If you're a student or on a very tight budget, you should consider renting a room in an apartment or house. These are typically around 15 to 35 square meters large, and you have to share common spaces with the other tenants and/or owners, such as the bathrooms, living room, yard, etc. You might not have a lot of privacy, but it can save you some money.

If you'd rather have your own space, consider renting a studio. These can be harder to find in Charleroi, but not impossible. This is a step up from renting a room out but not quite an apartment. Basically, you have one ample living space (no distinction between the living room, kitchen, and bedroom) and a bathroom. They're also a little smaller than one-bedroom apartments, around 55 to 60 square meters large.

There are also plenty of apartments for rent as well. One-bedroom apartments are typically 70 square meters in size, and if you're lucky, the landlord will cover some of the utility bills to take a little of the burden off your shoulders.

Types of apartments in Charleroi

Most people are familiar with furnished and unfurnished properties. Furnished means that the apartment will have a refrigerator, stove, furniture, beds, etc. Basically, it's ready for you to move in with little need to buy anything else, including plates, utensils, cooking utensils, and more. Whereas with an unfurnished property, you'll have to go out and buy all these things. Naturally, an unfurnished property will cost less to rent since you have to source all these things yourself. It's more of a hassle, but you'll get to keep everything afterward.

What shocks many expats is the unfurnished shell apartment. On paper, it looks the same as an unfurnished property, but you'll be surprised once you step into one. It's an apartment stripped of everything, including the light fixtures, carpet, and curtains. Of course, this will be the cheapest rental option available, but getting set up will take the most work.

Rents in Charleroi

Of all the cities in the region of Wallonia, Charleroi is one of the cheapest. You'll pay around €350 to €550 for a room in a house or apartment. For a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, it'll cost around €900. You'll pay a little less for a one-bedroom apartment outside of the center, about €700. However, the prices can become much higher depending on the neighborhood, the size of the property, etc. 

To ensure you're not being taken advantage of, use the rent calculator for Wallonia. This tool tells you the approximate rent price, based on the property's location, the apartment itself, and its construction year. It also estimates how much you'll pay for utilities, so you can factor that into your decision and budget better.

How to rent an accommodation in Charleroi

If you've found a property you like, it's good to reach out by phone, as this is how most tenants initiate contact and express interest. The landlord should explain the property in detail to you, and if you'd like to view it, they can't deny you the right to. Remember to write down key information about the property while on the call, and note down when you're scheduled for a viewing.

The viewing

When you go for the viewing, you'll want to carefully inspect the condition of the property. Check that the lock and the doorbell work and that you have your mailbox. Check that the rooms are to your liking and have plenty of natural light and windows that open and close correctly. You'll want to make sure the smoke detectors also work; this is key to your health and safety. Check that everything works in the bathroom, including the shower and toilet. You'll want a bathroom with a good ventilation system.

Charleroi has four ways to get hot water: electricity, gas, oil, or pellets. Ask the landlord which one's used in the property and where the electric, gas, and water meters are. You need access to these at all times to ensure you have no surprises on your budget. If these meters are readily accessible, that can be a red flag.

Lease agreement

If you decide to rent a property in Charleroi, you and the owner must sign the contract for it to be legally binding. Both of you also must have your own signed and dated copies. You must also go through inventory together and sign off on it to agree about the condition that everything's in. This protects both the landlord and tenant since when the lease ends, you go through the inventory again to check that everything is still in the same condition. If not, the appropriate amount is taken out of your deposit to pay for the repairs.

Speaking of deposits, you'll usually have to put 2 to 3 months' rent down. You can either have a bank hold it in escrow, apply for a bank guarantee directly with the bank, submit a request for a deposit at the social branch of the CPAS in your local area, or get a zero-interest loan.

The landlord's responsible for registering the lease contract, so you shouldn't have to worry about it. You have the right to follow up if your landlord does not register the lease within two months. If they still haven't written your lease a month after the initial two, you can leave the apartment at any time without giving notice or compensation to your landlord.

If you plan on finding other accommodations at some point, you need to know how many months in advance you must put in notice. It'll depend on the type of lease you've signed, but usually, it'll be at least three months.

Other types of accommodation in Charleroi

If you're older, Charleroi has housing services for the elderly. These are available for both independent and those who need assistance in their daily lives.

There's also social housing available in Charleroi. If you find yourself in need of these services, you can contact La Sambrienne. This public service housing company helps those in need get housing on behalf of the city of Charleroi.

Useful links:



Charleroi Official Portal

Wallonia Housing Fund

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