Belgian landlords are speaking out against an ongoing ban on evictions in Brussels spurred by the Coronavirus outbreak, saying that it protects people in debt from long before the current crisis.
The Syndicat national des propriétaires et des copropriétaires (SNPC) has spoken out in opposition of the extension of the moratorium on home evictions until 31 August in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The union intends to undertake appeals and file for damages against the regional authorities, it announced on Monday.
Last week, the Brussels government approved the extension of the ban on home evictions throughout the Region’s territory until 31 August 2020. “It is essential to continue to protect the tenants most weakened by the crisis whose effects will be felt well beyond the lifting of the measures of containment,” said Secretary of State for Housing, Nawal Ben Hamou.
In a statement, the SNPC expressed “amazement” at this decision and stressed that the people protected by the extension of the moratorium were already in debt before the coronavirus crisis. “Given the length of the procedure and for having been able to obtain an eviction judgment before the confinement and suspension of hearings, it can be said that the procedure had to be initiated by the owners before January 2020,” the union added. “They could, therefore, be deprived of more than eight months’ rent in the event of insolvency.”
The SNPC considers that tenants suffering the loss of income due to the health crisis are not threatened with eviction because possible disputes have not yet been fixed and judged due to the closure of the justices of the peace. “There is no doubt that the justices of the peace will grant these tenants terms and deadlines,” he continued.
According to the union, this postponement is “completely abusive”, is “part of a doctrinaire approach to landlord-tenant relations” and puts small landlords in a difficult situation because the rents are sometimes an additional source of income. The union has mandated advisers to lodge appeals and intended to mobilise the landlords concerned by this measure in order to sue the Brussels-Capital Region for damages.
The Brussels Times