For several years, the commune has taxed empty buildings, and the Brussels region really stepped it up in 2014: it quadrupled the sanctions. In 2013, the Unoccupied housing department gave out 42 fines, whereas, when records stopped on the 8th of December, it had already given out 178 in 2014. This information appeared in the Sudpresse newspapers on Tuesday. The Unoccupied housing department was created in 2012. “2013 was, logically, the year we prepared for 2014, the first year we could really function”, says the cabinet of Céline Fremault, the Brussels minister in charge of the department (Christian Humanists).
The role of the department is to look into empty apartments or houses to check the inoccupation is justified, and encourage it being put back on the rental or sales market.
In Brussels, leaving a property unoccupied without a reason is considered an administrative infraction, and fined. In 2014, these fines earned the Region just under 200,000 euros.