The grey area around accommodation rented via AirBnB, a platform for private homeowners to advertise rooms, apartments and houses to short-term visitors, is being gradually clarified in Belgium, where beefed-up regulations on rentals via the platform, introduced early this year in Brussels, will be applied over the next few months in Wallonia and Flanders. The Cabinet of the Premier of Brussels, responsible for Tourism, Rudi Vervoort, reported that providers of accommodation for tourists, which include AirBnB hosts, have been undergoing on-the-spot checks since mid-November in Brussels. Since Spring 2016, they need to satisfy certain conditions, related mainly to third-party liability insurance, hygiene and fire security. They are also required to register with the Brussels Economy and Employment service.
The Vervoort Cabinet reported that, since mid-November, spot checks have been made to ensure that the conditions are met. “There haven’t been any sanctions yet, but warnings have been issued and if they are not followed up by the business operator, sanctions will follow,” the cabinet stated. Fines could range from 250 to 25,000 euros.
Similar rules will take effect from the 1st of January 2017 in Wallonia, where business operators will be required to register online with the General Tourism Commission, CGT. This will be followed by an adaptation period during which AirBnB will be required to inform its users and direct them to the CGT, the cabinet of Wallonia’s Tourism Minister, René Collin, explained.
In the beginning, the Minister will rely on the “understanding” of the various stakeholders, but sanctions will later be applied, mainly a ban on the leasing of the room, apartment or house. No fines are planned.
According to De Tijd newspaper, a new decree set to take effect in April in Flanders will require providers of occasional accommodation to have a civil liability insurance, a certificate of good conduct and morals, and a fire security certificate. Non-compliant lessors risk fines between 250 and 25,000 euros, as in Brussels.
Jessica Johansson (Source: Belga)