After previous proposals to protect tenants were rejected, Brussels State Secretary for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou now wants to put a cap on rent indexations in the Capital Region.
Ben Hamou's previous proposal to base the rent indexation on a consumption index without energy products was rejected by the Brussels Government in July but her latest plan seems to be gaining ground.
"Next week we hope to submit a note that sets out the principles," Ben Hamou's office told Le Soir. "When you know that housing in Brussels is getting very expensive and you have a 9% increase on your rent, it hurts. "
She stressed that those who are unable to buy their own property suffer a "double penalty" due to inflation: the rise in energy prices leads to an increase in their energy costs, but also to an increase in the health index, which in turn leads to an increase in rent indexation.
Linking rent to energy efficiency
With her latest proposal, Ben Hamou wants to link rent indexation to the energy efficiency of properties. These are rated from A to G with A indicating maximum energy efficiency while G reflects the minimum efficiency.
Only buildings with a registered lease and an EPB (Energy Performance of Buildings) certificate of category A, B, C or D will be eligible for indexation, while the rent in buildings classified as E, F or G can no longer be increased – a measure is reminiscent of France's decision to free the rent for certain buildings decided last August.
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So far, the other parties in the Brussels Government have agreed in principle – in particular Brussels Minister for Employment Bernard Clerfayt who was quick to shoot down Ben Hamou's previous ideas.
"We can work on a project like this if it is part of an overall strategy to strengthen the effort to renovate buildings in the Brussels-Capital Region and which will have the impact of reducing the bills of all the households that occupy these apartments," he told RTBF.
A similar measure is also being considered in Flanders, where Housing Minister Mathias Diependale told the press that he was working on a proposal that would only allow landlords to fully index their rents if their properties are well insulated.