Like every other country, Belgium has traits that make it unique. Brussels is the capital city of Belgium. Generally, rent is usually the highest in the capital cities of every country. And when it comes to renting and housing, rent in Brussels is outstandingly cheaper compared to that of Paris in France and London in the UK.
The fact that you are considering renting in Brussels means that you intend to move. With movement comes the need for communication and language is a significant part of this process. In Brussels, Dutch, French and English are the official languages of communication. If you know any of these languages, then you are set to go. Let’s review a few things that you need to know about renting in Brussels.
Apartment renting in Brussels
In Belgium, leases favor the tenants because they are long. Unlike many other towns, repairs and maintenance of the house and appliances are done by the client rather than by the landlord. This may seem disadvantageous, but it is a good thing in that it gives tenants the freedom to customize the house to fit their taste without losing on the deposit.
In the city center, the monthly rent for a two-bedroom house range between 1000 to 1500 Euros. This price decreases in less popular areas. The Belgium government has provided a tool for estimating the rental price of your property. It also has a strict policy that necessitates all tenants to state the accurate rental price in adverts. As a result, you can trust the Belgian adverts and expect to do very little bargaining.
Note that as the cost of living index increases or decreases, the annual rent follows suit. The base rent can be increased either at contract renewal for short term lets or every three years for long term lets. You should not worry about this since it is well stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
Belgian utility payment
Utilities entail services that are not catered for by rent and are therefore paid separately. Examples of utilities are water and sewage.
Fees that may or may not be part of the rent, but do not constitute utilities, are housing association for apartment blocks, commune for collection. Find out upfront if your rent also caters for them.
Fees and deposit
The rent deposit is as equivalent of three months’ rent and is separate from the actual monthly rent. For example, if the monthly rent is 1000 Euros, then the deposit will be 3000 Euros. Insist on a paying the deposit through bank transfer in order to get have a record of this payment. It is advisable not to pay for it in cash.
Types of renting properties and contracts
Given that the base rent can only be increased every 3 years, the quirkiness of rental contracts follows a standard 3-6-9 format.
Short vs. long term contracts
Contracts that last for three years or less is considered short term. A tenant incurs a penalty of up to the full contract amount for giving a leaving notice before the contract period is over.
A contract of 9 years or more is considered a long term contract. A tenant incurs a penalty of up to 3 months’ rent for giving a leaving notice within the first three years. If the notice is given from the fourth year onwards, there is no penalty charged.
The landlord is expected to give a tenant three months notice if they want them to leave and they could end up paying the tenant several months’ rent as a penalty for asking them to leave.
Furnished vs. unfurnished apartments
Furnished apartments are convenient for ready move-in accommodation. They come with a service package including wife, cleaning services, insurance and technical support. They are very suitable for because the tenants don’t have to apply for utilities and the apartment’s technician addresses technical problems
For unfinished apartments, the tenants are expected to purchasing the missing items in the house such as curtains, complete and register an inventory, return the property in the state described in the inventory when they leave and make the necessary repairs and maintenance.
Student housing is called dorms and is arranged by universities and colleges. In dorms, 2 to 10 students share a kitchen and bathroom but each one of them has an independent bedroom.
To find a new home in Brussels, you can wander in its streets and physically look in agency windows or use an estate agent. Both these methods are effective and can land you a home you desire.