A landlord in Zonnebeke, West Flanders, has mounted large signs stating the amount of money he is still owed on the front walls of his tenants’ houses, in a last-resort attempt to gather his rent. This decision was condemned by Flemish Tenants Association, according to local reports.
The landlord claimed that he saw no other solution, given the tenants’ behaviour. “If you go to the door and they don’t open, if they don’t respond to phone calls and if you even have to pick up registered mail yourself at the post office, then I don’t have a clue what to do anymore either.”
The landlord claims to be owed €3,333 for one property in Wervik, and €1,822 for another property in Zandvoorde. However, the lawyer of the tenants in the Wervik property has disputed the landlord’s figures.
“My client’s actual rent arrears are less than half of €3,333 and are the result of a one-off misfortune,” said lawyer Marie-Hélène Debaere.
The landlord’s behaviour has also sparked complaints amongst the local tenants association Vlaams Huurdersplatform.
“It should not be the intention for the landlord to add fuel to the fire,” said Joy Verstichele, worker of the organisation.
“If possible, the landlord should attempt reconciliation in order to find a solution together with the tenant and the justice of the peace,” said Verstichele. “If this does not lead to a solution, a procedure can begin where the justice of the peace can order the tenant to settle the payment delays.”
“The peace court takes a very long time, especially when the tenants don’t show up. Then you have to wait another 4 to 5 weeks before the case reappears. And the end result is often very disappointing,” the landlord added.
The Brussels Times