Leases and Rental Agreements

Understand the different elements of the tenancy agreement and the obligations of the landlord and tenant when renting property in Belgium...

The lease or rental contract (droit de bail or bail à loyer/huurcontract) should include the following:

  • Name of the owner and name of the tenant
  • The start date of the contract
  • Address of the property to be rented
  • Parking spaces, garages or storage facilities included in the rental
  • The monthly rent amount

Most landlords require a standing order to be set up with the tenant's bank in order to effect the monthly payments. The lease is signed by the tenant and the landlord.

Registering the Lease

All leases in Belgium must be registered with the local office of the Receiver of Registrations, Ministry of Finance (Enregistrement, Ministere des Finances/Registratie, Ministerie van Financien), within two months of being signed. If the lease is not registered within this period, a fine can be imposed. The lease must be registered by the owner of the property and is entirely free of charge. If the lease is not registered, the landlord will receive a fine and the tenant can end the contract at any moment without having to give notice or pay any penalties. The lease can be registered in person at the local office of the property, by post, by email or by fax.

The Federal Public Service of Finances can provide further information and a list of offices, Tel: 02 572 57 57

Tenancy Obligations

By agreeing a lease on a property, the tenant undertakes to:

  • Pay the rent in full by the agreed monthly date
  • Pay the common charges appropriate to the property
  • Take responsibility for, and pay for, any damage, unless it is the result of circumstances outside of the tenant's control

Unless previously agreed in the lease, the tenant may not use the property for commercial purposes or sublet without written agreement from the landlord.

Documentation

Tenants' rights are well protected in Belgium and, as it is very difficult to evict tenants, the landlord or estate agent will probably ask for proof of income before signing the rental contract. Details of a guarantor who will be named in the contract and who will stand surety in the event that the tenant cannot pay the rent may also be requested.