New from 1/1/2018: Changes to rental leases in Brussels

New regulations on rental leases come into effect in Brussels Region from the 1st of January 2018. They include innovations such as joint, student and sliding leases. The new dispensation takes into account the new forms of housing, such as co-renting and student accomodation, that are becoming increasingly popular in the capital region, which has a 60% tenancy rate.

Joint leasing has two main elements: the joint rental lease and the joint lease pact. The first, which is between lessor (landlord) and lessee (tenant), establishes the amount of rent to be paid and the basic terms of the lease, which can be very flexible. The joint tenants then sign a joint rental pact between them. This agreement defines the terms of their cohabitation, which must include each party’s share of the rent, rental damage, maintenance costs and repairs, along with the modalities of each tenant’s arrival, departure and replacement. Other, non-compulsory, modalities may also be included in the joint rental lease.

The student least has a maximum duration of 12 months and can be renewed with the same conditions for one-year periods. Students may terminate their leases at any time with two months’ notice and without any indemnity. Landlords may only terminate their leases at the expiry date and with three months’ notice. To sign this type of agreement, a student must show evidence of registration or of a registration application.

The student lease is not compulsory. The landlord may always opt for a classic lease contract.

The sliding lease caters for people in needy circumstances. It is concluded between the proprietor and a moral entity, usually an association, for subletting immediately to someone receiving social assistance. When that assistance ends, the association withdraws from the agreement and the occupant of the premises becomes the principal tenant.

Alongside these innovations, certain provisions of the “classic” lease have been modified. For example, the information that lessors may request is clearly defined: surname and first name of the lessee(s); means of communication between lessor and lessee; any document attesting to the lessee’s identity and their capacity to enter into a contract; household size; total income or estimated income of the lessee.

“Neither the source or nature of the lessee’s income may be used by the lessor as grounds for refusing lodging,” the ordinance adopted in Brussels’ parliament stated.

Following the sixth state reform in December 2011, leasing matters are the prerogative of the regions.

The Brussels Times

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