Share article:
Share article:

Government plans blacklist for social housing tenants

© Anne Deknock

The Flemish government is planning to compile a blacklist of antisocial tenants of so-called social housing, according to housing minister Matthias Diependaele (N-VA).

The idea is that anyone renting social accommodation – financed ultimately by the government but administered by housing associations and social renting agencies – who behaves in an antisocial way, can be placed on a blacklist and evicted, as well as being prevented from being able to take another apartment or house.

Antisocial behaviour would include seriously disturbing neighbours and causing damage to the accommodation occupied.

From 1 January 2023, anyone evicted from a social home will automatically be placed on the blacklist, and thus be prevented from taking up new social accommodation. The only alternative at that point would be the private rental market, which would inevitably be more expensive, not to mention difficult to obtain.

Owners of private rental properties, however, complain that as a last resort antisocial tenants will turn to them, while they themselves have no right to consult the blacklist to get a view of the tenant’s record.

There is one judicial hurdle to overcome: a tenant can only be blacklisted if their eviction was ordered by a justice of the peace. In the first place, the offending tenant will be barred from signing up to the waiting list for new accommodation – a central registry is being planned for the whole region rather than the municipal lists kept now – for three years. Only after that period can the waiting begin.

Meanwhile Diependaele has been accused of using the eye-catching news of a blacklist for antisocial tenants to divert from the much more serious problem caused by owners of social housing.

They have been accused of defrauding local authorities and failing to maintain their properties, among other malpractices.

The social renting agencies and housing associations administer some 160,000 properties to house 150,000 families, in total some 375,000 people. Of those 150,000 official tenants, 58 were evicted in 2020 – each one a problem to their surroundings, but a minuscule number (0.032%) in total. And of course the official tenant is not alone in being evicted: the children have to go too.

The number of evictions due to a lack of maintenance and quality of life is therefore very limited,” Björn Mallants, director of the Association of Flemish Housing Associations (VVH), which represents 85 companies, told Apache.

At present, he said, housing associations have to give good solid reasons for refusing someone a place on the waiting list. The new approach will turn that responsibility on its head.

Latest news

Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...
Lidl reopens all Belgian shops as strike actions end
Lidl has confirmed that all its shops in Belgium will reopen on Tuesday following six days of closure across various branches due to strike actions. ...
Brussels Christmas Market will once again return on 24 November
It may only be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...
Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...