Accommodation in Charleroi

Charleroi
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Updated 2021-12-20 14:04

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 railway and transport hub in Europe. 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 offers many theaters and spectacles, and many museums. Sports infrastructures and clubs are everywhere in the city, which attracts a lot of 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 main zones in the city center and the main streets of the city. This project is meant to attract more families and offer them a good 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 currently rebuilding itself into something great. People call it the “new Berlin”, as it's quickly being transformed into a green space. In fact, 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 districts 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 9 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, you'll need to stay in temporary accommodations. The first resort is hotels, seeing 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, Novotel Charleroi Centre is an excellent choice since it's located right in city center and connects you to the Rive Gauche shopping mall, which means 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 as you're searching for the perfect place to stay long-term in Charleroi.

For those who want to stay close to the airport, there are also many hotels in that area. 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 as well. The private rooms for two have their own 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 a good choice as well. 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 that'll stay for a bit longer.

Another choice for longer 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 on yourself, you should first 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 for you. 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), which are 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 out 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 owner, 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, then consider renting a studio. These can be a bit 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 large living space (no distinction between living room, kitchen, and bedroom) and a bathroom. They're also a little smaller than 1-bedroom apartments, coming in at around 55 to 60 square meters large.

There are also plenty of apartments for rent as well. 1-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

Most people are familiar with furnished and unfurnished properties. Furnished means that the apartment will come with a refrigerator, stove, furniture, beds, etc. Basically, it's ready for you to move in with little need to buy anything else, including even 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 once you step into one, you'll be surprised. It's basically an apartment that's been stripped of everything, including the light fixtures, carpet, and curtains. Of course, this will be the cheapest rental option available, but it'll take the most work to get set up.

Rents in Charleroi

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

To make sure you're not being taken advantage of, use the rent calculator for Wallonia. This tool tells you what the approximate rent price should be, 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 also budget better.

How to rent an accommodation

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. Make sure to write down key details 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 the property's in. Check that the lock and the doorbell work and that you have your own mailbox. Inside, check that the rooms are to your liking and have plenty of natural light and windows that open and close properly. You'll want to make sure the smoke detectors work as well; 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.

In Charleroi, there are 4 ways to get hot water: electricity, gas, oil, or pellets. Ask the landlord which one's used in the property and also ask 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, both you and the owner have to 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 so you 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 once again to check that everything is still in the same condition as before. If not, then the appropriate amount is taken out of your deposit to pay for the repairs.

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

It's the landlord's responsibility to register the lease contract, so you shouldn't have to worry about it. Should your landlord not register the lease within two months, you have the right to follow up. If they still haven't registered your lease in a month after the initial two, you can leave the apartment at any time without having to give notice or compensation to your landlord.

If you plan on finding other accommodations at some point, then 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 of older age, Charleroi has housing services for the elderly. These are available for both those who are 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 is a public service housing company that helps those in need get housing on the behalf of the city of Charleroi.

Useful links:

Logic-Immo

Booking

Charleroi Official Portal

Wallonia Housing Fund

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