Renting in Belgium: what you need to know
If you’re looking for a job in Belgium, finding decent housing is undoubtedly one of your top priorities. Whether you need a temporary housing solution or want to find a place to settle for you and your family: here’s are some interesting need-to-knows and recommendations.
Renting in Belgium: a glossary
Where to look for renting spaces
Finding a rental space in Belgium is not that hard, and the best place to start looking is online. There are numerous reliable real estate websites available, but we specifically recommend immoweb.be, immo.vlan.be, and logic-immo.be. Kapaza.be, a site for secondhand goods, is a great choice as well, as are groups on Facebook where people post their ads directly.
Don’t spend too much time online, though: before you make a decision, you’ll need to get out there and visit a few places to get the feel. In Belgium’s largest cities – Brussels and Antwerp – you’ll find a lot of English-speaking real estate agents. They can drive you around to visit properties if you don’t have a car.
What to expect in terms of prices
Since real estate prices in Belgium aren’t regulated, rent is set freely by the owner and price can vary greatly depending on location. Overall, however, rental rates in Belgium are relatively low and comparable to those in Poland. Belgians spend on average 30% of their net income on accommodation.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Belgium will cost between 500 and 600 euros per month. In addition, you’ll have to pay around 25 euros per month for insurance. Utilities (electricity, water, internet etc.) typically cost around 100 euros per month total for an 85 m2 apartment.
What rights do I have as a tenant?
As a tenant in Belgium, you are responsible for most repairs to the property. However, this also means you have greater freedom to redecorate the premises as you wish. In addition, the rental contract offers a lot of security should you want to settle down.
For example, the landlord has to give you six months’ notice to vacate when looking to occupy the property, house a family member, or undertake major works. Often, the owner even has to pay a penalty of several months’ rent when giving the tenant notice to vacate.
If, however, you give notice that you will vacate the property in the first year of the contract, you’ll have to pay a fine consisting of three months’ rent. In the second year, this will be two months’ rent and in the third year, one month.
What if I only need a place for a short time?
In Belgium, a short-term tenancy refers to a renting period of less than three years that is not a holiday. This option is ideal for expat workers with short contracts, or for those looking to buy homes. A short-term contract typically has a fixed duration and a three-month notice period.
If you’re staying for only a few weeks, it might be a better idea to opt for a holiday room or serviced apartment instead, or to look for options on Airbnb.
I found a place I like. What happens next?
Applying for a place to rent in Belgium is fairly easy, as the housing market is less competitive than in other Western European countries. When you make the decision to rent a property, you’ll have to provide the usual information regarding your financial solvency, employment and residency status. When the owner agrees, a tenancy agreement will be drafted. You will have to sign three identical copies of the agreement: one for the landlord or real estate agent, one for the local registry office, and one for you.
All signed? Congratulations on your new place! Now it’s time to start decorating.
Looking for a place to stay while working in Belgium? The experts at Link2Europe are happy to help you out. https://link2work.pl/en/how-we-help/
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