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Questions and answers

Are you on the point of renting an apartment, or have you just found your dream house? Obviously, you would rather take this important step without being burdened by a host of worries. On this page, CENTURY 21’s real estate specialists answer the questions most frequently asked by renters.
If you would like tailor-made advice, please contact a CENTURY 21 office near you. They will give you personal, objective and impartial advice.

 

Do life-time rental contracts still exist in Belgium?

No, life-time contracts no longer exist. All contracts are now for a fixed term, usually 9 years. Under the new rental act, life-time rental contracts signed before 28 February 1991 will be automatically converted into fixed-term contracts.
In that case, which kinds of rental contracts are available?
There are 4 types of rental contract: the 9-year contract, the short-term contract, (maximum 3 years), the long-term contract, (longer than 9 years) and a life-long contract. You can read all about these contracts below. If anything is unclear – and rental law is anything but simple – just contact one of our CENTURY 21 specialists for more information.

 

What are the terms of a 9-year rental contract in Belgium?

This contract will terminate after 9 years. There is one condition: you must give notice at least 6 months before termination. If you fail to do this, it will be tacitly renewed for a period of 3 years.

 

  • As a tenant, you can terminate the contract at any time, subject to a notice period of 3 months. If you do this in the first 3 years, you will be required to pay a termination fee. If the landlord terminates the contract, you can give a shortened term of notice, of a month’s duration without being required to pay a termination fee.
  • The landlord may also terminate the contract within the period of 9 years, with 6 month’s notice if:
  • They wish to occupy the residence themselves, or to have it occupied by a family member. This can occur at any moment;
  • If he wishes to carry out major renovation works – unless this is excluded in the contract. This may only occur at the end of each 3-year period;
  • Without giving a reason; in that case, the landlord must pay compensation equal to 9 month’s rent at the end of the first 3-year period and equal to 6 month’s rent at the end of the second 3-year period.
  • If the landlord does not register the contract within 2 months, the tenant is entitled to terminate the rental contract at all times without being required to give notice or pay a termination fee.


What are the terms of short-term contracts in Belgium?

These leases will end after a maximum of 3 years. The tenant or landlord must terminate the contract 3 months before the final date. This may not occur earlier, unless provided for in the rental contract. It can only be extended once in writing and under the same conditions, as long as the total duration of the lease does not exceed three years. If you remain in the property after this period  or if the total duration of the lease exceeds three years, the rental contract will turn into a 9-year contract, to be counted from the start of the first contract.


What are the terms of long-term contracts in Belgium?

These leases end after the agreed upon period of more than 9 years. The landlord or tenant must terminate the contract 6 months before the final date. If not, it will be tacitly extended each time for another 3 years.


What are the terms of a life-long contract in Belgium ?

You can terminate a life-long contract at any time, subject to a 3-month notice period. The landlord may not terminate this contract unless this is explicitly stipulated in the contract.


Which additional costs can I expect?

Costs and charges: specific costs such as communal use of an apartment building, energy bills or maintenance must be paid by the tenant. These costs will be specified in the rental contract.

Indexation: the amount of rent will be adjusted each year to the cost of living according to a legal formula.

Fire insurance: most rental contracts oblige you to take out a fire insurance policy. This clause is not legally compulsory,  but we advise you to always take out fire insurance. This is because if a fire breaks out, you will be held liable unless you can prove that the fire was not your fault.

Notary costs: All rental contracts entered into for a period exceeding 9 years must be set out in an authentic deed which can be relied upon against third parties. These costs may be passed on to the tenant.
 

If you have any questions? Contact us: