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    Belgian landlords asked for leniency towards tenants

    Credit: Belga

    Belgian landlords have been asked to be understanding with regard to their tenants as Belgium faces up to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

    There is a need “to seek out the most useful solutions for both parties with their tenants, the important thing being that commercial tenants can get through this bad period without too much trouble,” explained Olivier Hamal, president of the National Union of Owners and Co-owners (SNPC) in a Facebook post.

    As for private residents, Hamal said that “although rent expenses, such as food or health care, must be prioritized, the fact remains that some of our fellow citizens could still find themselves in a delicate situation. An agreement will then have to be reached between landlords and tenants within the framework of a moratorium,” meaning they must agree to postpone payment.

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    Hamal is less lenient when it comes to student ‘kot’ housing. Many “will continue to use their kot to study and will at some point have to go take exams,” said Hamal, adding that the 12-month lease of a kot includes “a whole series of periods during which there is no schooling,” like during holidays or study breaks.

    “This crisis will require everyone to act accordingly. It is likely that there will only be losers and we will have to go through it together,” concluded Hamal. “Both landlords and tenants will probably have to put water in their wine and show understanding and common sense.”

    Some organisations have already done just that, with breweries Alken-Maes, Haacht and AB InBev all suspending rent for the use of their premises.

    The SNPC itself has had to take measures to deal with coronavirus, as they announced on their website that their offices are closed and legal appointments have been cancelled until further notice.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times