The Rental Process
There are many places to find property in Brussels. When renting, once you find a property you are interested in you can contact the owner directly with the contact details listed where you saw the property advertised. Generally a credit check is not performed though the owner may ask for proof of income. A lease will be drawn up and together you do an inventory of what is in the apartment. You may also be responsible for getting the utilities connected.
Rental properties are widely available in Brussels and require the signing of a lease. The rentals have differing amounts of furniture, from none at all to fully furnished and kitchen equipment that will also vary by property. Leases can generally be tailor-made to suit requirements of landlord and tenant if both parties are agreeable, though a standard lease is nine years broken down into three-year blocks called a 3-6-9 lease. Diplomatic clauses are often included to protect transient people with no definite idea as to how long they will stay in the city. Leases in Belgium are very protective of the tenant and it is difficult for a landlord to evict a renter. To terminate a lease without penalty, three months notice is usually required in the first year, two in the second and one in the third year of the lease. The landlord may evict a tenant should they require the property themselves for personal use, in which case six months notice is required. If the landlord breaks the lease in the first three years, they face a penalty equal to nine months rent, and after six years, a penalty equal to six months rent. They must give the tenant adequate notice otherwise a penalty equivalent to 18 months rent is paid. The tenant is required to pay utilities unless otherwise stipulated in the lease contract. In most cases direct debit is set up for payment of the rent every month. Usually landlords require one to three months rent as a deposit.
Included in the lease should be the following;
- Address of the property
- Rent amount to be paid and date when it should be paid
- Duration of lease
- Deposit required and the subsequent conditions
- Rent structure, ie increases or decreases of rent after a certain period of residency
Once a lease has been signed it must be registered with the Ministry of Finance Receiver of Registrations within 2 months. It is free to register the lease and the onus is on the owner of the property. Should the lease not be registered within 2 months, the owner receives a fine and the tenant is free to break the contract when they wish without fulfilling requirements of the lease.
Price vary widely depending on location and type of property to be rented. Even in the best areas low prices can be found in apartments and houses that are not well-maintained. Below are some base prices around a few areas in the city, and more up-to date properties can be viewed at http://immoweb.be/en/rent.cfm?xkeep=Y&xcarte=N&xshow=.
Schaerbeek – This is an area being completely made-over and has some inexpensive accommodations. Prices to rent an apartment can be as low as 250€/mth for a studio and 900€/mth for a three bedroom house.
City of Brussels – Another area undergoing transformation, it is still one of the most affordable areas in the city. Prices for an apartment can begin at 250€/mth and a 2 bedroom house is approximately 1000€/mth.
Ixelles – In this contrasting area, prices vary radically depending on where you live. Prices can be as low as 270€/mth for a studio and 900€/mth for a two bedroom house. Just note that in the more affluent areas of Ixelles prices are much higher than this.
Uccle – Another commune of contrasts, prices for a studio can be as low as 300€/mth and for a two bedroom house 900€/mth though in general they will be a lot more.
Woluwe-St-Lambert & Woluwe-St-Pieters – Prices in the Woluwes begin at around 350€/mth for a studio and two bedroom houses at around 1,100€/mth. The median prices though will be a fair amount higher than that, nearing 800€ for a 2 bedroom apartment and closer to 1,500€ for a three bedroom house.
St-Gilles – Another neighborhood of stark contrasts, rent for a studio can be as low as 500€/mth and houses, many of which can be classified as mansions are over 2,000€/mth.