Landlord ordered to drop rent after attempting to evict tenants

Landlord ordered to drop rent after attempting to evict tenants
Appartment buildings in Saint-Gilles, where a landlord was ordered to reduce his rent after he attempted to evict the tenants. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A landlord in the Brussels municipality of Saint-Gilles was ordered to reduce the monthly rent of his property by €150 after he attempted to evict the tenant, in a ruling by a Saint Gilles justice of the peace.

The ruling stems from an ongoing conflict opposing the two parties after the tenants decided to stop paying the rent because of the poor conditions in the house.

"There were problems with the heating and part of the ceiling collapsed due to a water leak," a representative of a housing non-profit involved in the proceedings told Bruzz.

In accordance with renting guidelines for the municipality of Saint-Gilles, as well as taking into account the fact that the residence was in violation with housing codes, the judge ordered the rent to be reduced from €650 to €500.

In addition to dropping the rent, the justice of the peace also ordered the owners to repay the difference since the contract entered into the effect in 2013 —a figure amounting to over €4,000.

According to the renting guidelines, the "correct rent" for the property in question —a 64 square meters, one-bedroom apartment— is of €495 maximum.

The ruling is the result of the landlord's decision to take the case to the justice of the peace, after he failed to remove the tenants from the property when he "finally decided" to undertake renovations.

While the ruling was made in January 15, the landlord's decision to not appeal it meant the order became final on Thursday, according to the housing non-profit.

While unprecedented, the decision is non-binding, and its enforcement will rely on civil society and the Brussels Parliament's willingness to work for "reasonable" rents in the city.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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