The Knokke-Heist city council is planning to oblige new home buyers to live in the commune, Mayor Piet De Groote is quoted as saying by L’Echo and De Tijd on Saturday.
The measure is meant to prevent housing from being beyond the reach of people who wish to live in Knokke, De Grote said in his first interview since becoming mayor, following the death of his predecessor, Leopold Lippens.
“Today 21,000 of our 39,000 homes are secondary residences,” the mayor said. “If we do not intervene, we’ll soon be at 80%.”
The requirement to live in the commune will only apply to future buyers. According to Piet De Groote, thousands of homes could be involved. “We have launched the process, hoping to be able to implement the measure next year,” he explained.
Not everyone is convinced the measure is legally acceptable.
“The idea is praiseworthy, but I’m afraid that this plan may not be approved by the State Council,” noted Steve Ronse, a professor of real-estate law at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven).