Accommodation in Leuven

Updated 2023-10-09 13:14

Leuven is home to a lot of students but also attracts expats because of the companies implemented there. So, where to find housing in Leuven?


Leuven (or Louvain in French) is a small city with a rich historical past. It's the Flanders-Brabant region's capital city and the largest city here. In addition, it's considered a student city because of the Catholic university KU Leuven. This university is 500 years old and the main attraction in Leuven, not only for students but also for companies at the top of their field. All these details attract many foreigners searching for a new life and a new place to live.

The boroughs of Leuven

Leuven is divided into five different boroughs:

  • Heverlee;
  • Kessel-Lo;
  • Leuven;
  • Wijgmaal;
  • Wilsele.

Below are details on each borough to decide which one suits you best.


Heverlee is located to the south of Leuven. This area is a Belgian region in the Brabant province. It's home to the Higher Catholic School (Katholieke Hogeschool Leuven) and a section of the Catholic University, the Arenberg campus. This campus is dedicated to research and education for exact sciences. Heverlee also has the main facilities for the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences on the Arenberg campus.

If you enjoy sports, you'll be pleased to know that the Den Dreef stadium is in Heverlee. This is the home of the Belgian soccer team Oud-Heverlee Leuven. This borough also holds the Cyclocross Leuven race every January.

This town has flourishing industrial parts, which means ample job opportunities here.


Kessel-Lo is located northeast of Leuven. It's home to a family park called Provinciaal Domein Kessel-Lo, which offers recreational, sports, and cultural leisure activities.

The borough has many youth organizations, which makes it ideal for families with young children. On the other hand, there's a local brewery called De Vlier, so it's perfect for beer connoisseurs.

Lastly, you'll feel right at home here if you like rugby. Kessel-Lo is home to the rugby team Rugby Club Leuven.


This is Leuven proper, which we've already covered earlier. Most of the city life is here, so if you like the hustle and bustle, you should consider settling down in Leuven Center.


Wijgmaal is located far up north of Leuven, even past Wilsele. You'll find the Wijgmaal Station here, which is a transportation hub. Wijgmaal is also home to the Ymeria Stadion, which is a soccer stadium that's the home of Olympia SC Wijgmaal.

Every May, you'll witness the Wijgmaalse Feesten, which is a three-day celebration. There are many sports activities, mainly races. You'll also get to enjoy musical performances.


Wilsele is located on the northern side of Leuven. There are actually two parts to Wijgmaal, which the Canal Leuven-Dijle separates: Wilsele-Dorp (a village) and Wilsele-Putkapel. It wasn't until recently that a bridge was built across the canal to connect these two parts.

There's an abbey on Keizersberg (which means “emperor's hill” in Dutch). Many students from KU Leuven reside here, so if you're a student, keep this borough open if you want to live around other students.

How to find housing in Leuven

You can look for accommodation in Leuven online or through real estate agencies. If you're on Facebook, you can join groups specifically to find accommodations in Leuven. Otherwise, sites like Booking, Logic Immo, Immoweb, and Immo Vlan are great to search on.

Once you're actually in Leuven, it's easier to locate rentals, as they most likely display a sign on them that says “te huur” (Dutch) or “à louer” (French). Newspapers, online and printed, are also beneficial.

If you're having issues finding housing in Leuven, then consider enlisting the help of a real estate agent. While they mainly sell properties, they can also assist you in apartment rental searches.

Temporary accommodation in Leuven

Before settling into an apartment, you must go out looking for one first. In the meantime, you'll need to stay in temporary accommodations. Otherwise, you'll be homeless.

The cheapest option is to stay in a hostel, and Leuven has two available: Leuven City Hostel and HI De Blauwput Leuven. Hostel St. Jacob is a third option, but it's temporarily closed at the time of writing. You can stay cheaply at these hostels, but you'll usually have to share a room with strangers, as the rooms have 4, 6, or more beds. Not only that, but you'll also have to share bathrooms and showers with everyone else. You can also book twin rooms with private bathrooms, which will cost significantly more. At this point, it's a better choice to book a budget hotel, especially if you're bringing lots of your belongings and valuables with you.

If you're looking for budget hotels, try Hotel Ladeuze. It's located just one minute from Ladeuzeplein and many university faculties. They've got a breakfast buffet for €9, so it can be worth your money if you have a big appetite. You can try several other budget hotels, such as Ibis Budget Leuven Centrum, Budget Flats Leuven, and Hotel Industrie.

Otherwise, popular options are regular hotels. Many are concentrated in the Leuven proper area but might be a bit pricier since they're centrally located. Consider booking a hotel outside of the R23 ring to get cheaper rooms. Leuven is small enough to traverse, so staying outside of the ring can be better on your wallet.

If you want to get a feel for life as a local, Airbnb is a great choice. You'll get to stay in studios or apartments that'll show you the potential place you'll rent. There are also entire townhouses and residential homes available, or you can just rent out a private room in a residence to save a little money.

Another option is aparthotels, such as one at Boardhousing Aparthotel. These combine the best of both worlds regarding apartments and hotels. You'll feel like you're living in an apartment but enjoy amenities and housekeeping as if you were staying in a hotel. Because the living quarters are more extensive and include a kitchenette, it'll probably be the most expensive option. However, if you need to stay longer, aparthotels can be the most cost-efficient choice since the daily rate is lower in comparison, and you can cook your food instead of eating out.

Student accommodation in Leuven

To stay in the university residence halls at KU Leuven, you must sign a rental contract of 10 months. Make sure you apply early because rooms will go fast. To qualify for university accommodations, you must be enrolled for 27 credits in an academic year or 13 credits in a semester.

If you'd like to stay longer, private market apartments usually have a contract term of 12 months. On the other hand, if you're only staying for a semester (which is five months), you'll need to go with a private landlord. This option will be more expensive than renting for a whole year, but it's possible.

If you're looking for off-campus private accommodations, you can follow the same route as regular expats. Do note that it's not common for students to look for an apartment or house independently. However, you can ask KU Leuven to send you model contracts, so you know what a leasing contract looks like. Because you're advised to sign contracts in Dutch, you can ask a Housing Service advisor at your university to help you out if you can't read the language. Do note that they usually aren't able to help you by email, but rather, by in-person appointments or by phone.

Accommodations in Leuven

Like in most other Belgian cities, there are three main options for long-term accommodation in Leuven: rooms, studios, and apartments.

Rooms can bridge the gap between staying in a hotel and renting out a studio or apartment, as it's cheaper. It's also ideal for those on a tight budget, such as students. However, you won't get much privacy, as you'll have other housemates. But it can be great for those who like company. Expect rooms to be anywhere between 25 to 35 square meters large.

Studio apartments are the next step up. They'll give you your space and are more significant than just having a room. However, be aware that studios are a bit smaller in Leuven than they are in other places. Expect them to be around 35 to 40 square meters large. They're ideal for both single people and couples. This is because studios have a mostly open concept where the bedroom leads into the kitchen and the living room areas.

Apartments are a step up from studios in that they have walls between rooms and are slightly larger. Like the rooms and studios, one-bedroom apartments in Leuven are smaller than in other cities. They're typically between 40 to 50 square meters large.

When renting out any of the above choices, you'll have the option of furnished or unfurnished. However, if you're renting a room, you'll usually have to supply the furniture. Furnished properties will be much simpler to move into since you won't have to get any furniture, beds, TVs, and other large items. However, it'll cost more to rent out, and there will be more potential things to damage, which means there's more of a chance of your landlord taking your deposit. Unfurnished properties will be more of a pain to move into and get set up, but you'll get to choose your things, and better yet, you can take them with you should you move elsewhere.

Unfurnished shell apartments in Leuven

While searching for apartments, be primarily on the lookout for unfurnished shell apartments. At first glance, you might think they're the same as unfurnished apartments. However, you must have a sharp eye or be in for a surprise.

An unfurnished shell apartment is devoid of anything. So not only do you not have basic furniture, you won't have appliances such as a refrigerator, washing machine, or stove. That's not it either; a shell apartment won't have light fixtures, carpet, curtains, and more. Reasonably, this type of apartment is the cheapest type to rent out. However, you'll have to go through the trouble of finding all these things to make your apartment livable.

Rents in Leuven

Rent prices in Leuven are slightly higher than in other places, although not as high as in Brussels, considering it's the country's capital.

To rent out a room, it'll cost you around €300. For a furnished studio, this can cost close to €900, so as you can see, this is why many students and those on a budget choose to stay in a room. And lastly, a furnished one-bedroom apartment will cost you over €1,000 to rent out.

How to rent an accommodation in Leuven

You should reach out by phone to rent accommodation in Leuven, although email is acceptable nowadays, especially in a student town. Either way, the landlord needs to describe the property to you in full detail, so you should have a good idea of whether or not it's ideal for you.

If you decide it's right for you, you can schedule a viewing. At this point, the landlord can't legally deny you.

Once at the viewing, check every room and how everything's functioning. This includes what the ventilation is like in the bathroom, as people usually have moisture problems.

If you want to rent out a property after viewing it, it's time to sign a contract. Verbal agreements won't suffice. Both you and the landlord will need to sign and date two copies of the contract, which both of you will get to keep. In addition, you'll have to go through an inventory checklist, and both of you must sign off on that. At the end of your tenancy, you'll go through the list together, and if anything is not in the original condition, the price to fix it will be deducted from your deposit. As for the deposit, you'll usually have to put two to three months' rent down. Most people choose to have a bank hold that amounts to escrow.

It must be registered with the municipality within two months of signing the contract. However, this is the landlord's responsibility. If they fail to do so and don't register it one month afterward, you can legally leave the property without giving notice or compensation.

If you want to move out of the property, you must get your landlord at least three months' notice. The exact time will depend on which type of contract you've signed.

Useful links:

Leuven official portal

Logic Immo



Immo Vlan

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