Around 50 members of the Brussels Tenants' Union campaigned in front of the Brussels Parliament on Monday afternoon for a general limit of rent indexation to 2%. The demonstration comes just before the parliamentary year opened.
The union hopes to persuade a majority of Brussels MPs to support an ordinance to cap rent indexation; there is currently no consensus within the Brussels Government. Tenants in the Capital region, along with a number of associations, have been asking for a 2% limit since June, with some landlords currently indexing their rents by almost 10%.
Those unable to buy their own property are hit twice by the high inflation: the rise in energy prices leads to an increase in their energy costs but also pushes up the health index, which drives rent indexation higher.
The latest proposal to protect tenants is not a solution to the problem either, the union argues. Brussels State Secretary Nawal Ben Hamou wants to link rent indexation to the energy efficiency of properties. These are rated from A to G (A being the most energy efficient and G the least).
Ben Hamou proposed that only buildings with a registered lease and an Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) certificate of category A, B, C or D will be eligible for indexation. Any landlord with a building classified as E, F or G would have to make improvements to energy efficiency before raising the rent.
However, the Tenants' Union argues that this would essentially penalise those who rent properties classified as A, B, C or D for being energy efficient.
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The left-wing Workers Party of Belgium will also submit a proposal to cap the indexation of rents at 2% to the housing commission of the Walloon Parliament on Tuesday.
"The Walloon Housing Minister, Christophe Collignon, says he has been thinking about it since June but nothing has been done when the indexation planned for the rents of leases concluded in September amounts to almost 10%," said Germain Mugemangango, party fraction leader in the Wallonia Parliament.
"Curbing the increase in rents is quite possible if there is the political will that goes with it," he added.