Moving House in Belgium

Make sure you carry out these essential tasks when moving house in Belgium...

Whether you're moving around the corner or across the country, moving house generally requires considerable planning and preparation; here are some specifics tasks to remember when doing it in Belgium.

Contact the Local Municipality

When moving house in Belgium, the change of address must be declared at the local municipality's administration building (gemeentebestuur/administration communale) of the new address within eight working days of moving. This serves to update a person's dossier and, if necessary, transfer it from the former commune of residence to the new one.

The declaration should be done in person (people who cannot go to the administration building may notify the administration in writing, giving reasons for doing so). For a household of more than one person, one person may make the declaration for everyone as long as they are over 18 years of age.

In order to verify that the move is real, a police officer will visit to check that the person's name is on the door of the new address within eight working days of the declaration (this is standard practice). If the check is positive the municipality will invite the person concerned to update or replace their residence card, which also serves as their identity card. They will also inform the municipality for the old address of the change.

If the change is not accepted an appeal can be made to the Population department of the Federal Service for the Interior.

Note: This declaration is compulsory – people who do not make it can be fined.

Rubbish collections

These are on different days for different parts of the municipalities. The municipality for the new address will have a list of the collection days at its administration office or on its website.

Local licences

Municipalities can also set their own rules for dog licences, satellite dish aerials and taxes for various kinds of business activity. People moving to a new municipality should check if new regulations apply to them at its administration office or on its website.

Forward Post

Mail can be forwarded for four months, on request (there is a charge). Mail can also be re-directed to an address outside of Belgium for four months at a further cost. The forwarding period can be extended for an extra fee (prices differ for businesses and private individuals).

Application for mail forwarding should be done a few weeks before the move using a form available from the Post Office or online. Proof of identity and details of the new address are required when presenting the completed form at the Post Office.

  • For the application form from the Post Office's (De Post/La Poste): Click here (PDF)

The Post Office offers a moving assistance service, DoMyMove, for the same charge as simple mail-forwarding. The service can take care of the following:

  • Cancelling electricity, gas, water and cable contracts at the old address and signing up the same services at the new address
  • Redirecting mail
  • Communicating the new address to banks, insurance companies, Internet companies and more

To register for the service, fill out a form available from a local post office. It is recommended to fill out the form a few weeks before moving home. However it is possible to make use of this service up to 14 days following the move.

  • For comprehensive information from De Post/La Poste: Click here (in French)

Notify Utility Providers

Notify the relevant utility agencies two weeks before the move. A final meter reading (where possible) will usually be required, as well as a forwarding address where final bills may be sent. If moving to another property in Brussels, it is usually possible to transfer client details from one property to another. Companies can be notified by telephone, online or by visiting the relevant agency in person. If visiting an agency, take an identity document, such as the residence permit (identity card) or passport, and the last bill received for that utility. To find the local agency, either follow links on the company's website (local branches - antennes provinciales/de provinciale loketten) or check the online Yellow Pages.

Gas and electricity

With the deregulation of gas and electricity, customers can now choose a different supplier. When moving, contact the relevant supplier and request a transfer form at least two weeks before the move. A final meter reading (where possible) is usually required, as well as a forwarding address where the final bills may be sent. If moving to another property in the same region, it is usually possible to transfer client details from one property to another.

Water

Each region has its own water supplier. Contact the supplier to notify them of the change of address or requirement for supply.

Brussels Region

In Brussels, the water supplier is BIWD/IBDE (Brusselse Intercommunale voor Waterdistributie/Intercommunale Bruxelloise de Distribution d'Eau)

A form is available online to transfer the account and record a final meter reading. The leaving owner or tenant and the new one both need to sign this. BIWD/IBDE can also send a technician to take the transfer meter reading or to turn on the water in the new home, if it is not already connected.

Flanders region

The water company for the region of Flanders is the Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening, VMW.

  • To find a local address and telephone number for the VMW: Click here

Wallonia region

The water company for Wallonia is the Société Wallonne des Distributions d'Eau (SWDE).

  • SWDE (in French)
    At: Rue de la Concorde 41, 4800 Verviers
    Tel: 08 787 87 87 (French)
    Tel: 08 787 87 88 (German)
    Tel: 08 787 87 89 (Dutch)
  • A form is available online to transfer the account: Click here (PDF in French)

Transfer Telephone, Television and Internet Services

Telephone

People who have a fixed line should contact Belgacom, who are responsible for the network, about ten working days before the move to request a line transfer to the new address, even if they use a different network for calls. It is also possible to request the transfer online.

  • Information and forms are available from Belgacom: Click here

Belgacom will need the customer identity number as well as the telephone number to transfer the line – these are on the phone bill. A technician will need to visit the new home if it doesn't already have a fixed line connected.

It is possible to keep the old number for moves to a new address in the same exchange area (that is, with the same area code). Moves outside the area require a new number. However, Belgacom has a message service that gives the new number to people calling the old number. Belgacom will also change the entry in the phone book (Witte Gids/Pages Blanches) to show the new address.

If Belgacom supply an Internet connection, this will be transferred automatically with the line.

The operator company is responsible for calls – it can be Belgacom or one of the independent operators as this market is open. The operator also needs to know the new address and number.

Television

Most of Belgium is served by cable television, when moving it is necessary to contact the relevant supplier of Cable TV, the service can be transferred to the new home if that cable company covers the new address. If it is in another part of Belgium, the service must be transferred to the appropriate operator.

Internet

Internet connections are provided by both telephone operators and television distributors. They will need to be informed of the move and a new connection made if the provider does not operate at the new address.

Update Car Registration Certificate

The new address must be certified within 15 days on the car registration certificate (inschrijvingsbewijs/certificate d'immatriculation) by the police section of the municipality administration office for the new residence. The administration will record the change of address directly on the ownership papers in the boxes provided for this.

If all the available boxes have been filled in, send a completed registration application (inschrijvingsaanvraag/demande d'immatriculation) for a new certificate to the DIV. Registration forms are available from the DIV office for the area or from the municipality administration office.

Indicate in box U1 that it concerns a change of address with a filled-in registration certificate:

  • "adresverandering - geen plaats meer op het inschrijvingsbewijs" or
  • "changement d'adresse avec un certificat d'immatriculation rempli".

Attach a stamp from the car insurance company in section Z.

Send the DIV:

  • the registration certificate
  • the registration form
  • a recent and original statement of registration in the municipality population register (attest van inschrijving in het bevolkingsregister/attestation d'inscription dans les registres de la population).

The DIV will return a copy of the registration document showing the new address. The main administrative office is in Brussels.

  • Direction pour l'Immatriculation des Vehicules (DIV)
    At:
    Rue du Progres 56, 1210 Brussels
    Tel: 02 277 30 40
  • Find a regional office and opening hours, select "Guichets En Province"

Update Insurance

Notify insurance companies of any change of address.

Fire insurance, also known as home insurance, is not required by law, although is may be required by a rental agreement. The company will usually transfer home insurance to the new property if it is of a similar size to the old one.

Notify Banks

Notify the bank of the new address before the move. Cancel any old standing order for rent and set up a new one if the new address has a new landlord. Once the move is completed, documentary proof of the new address - such as a tenancy agreement or utility bill - may be required.

Alert Tax Authorities

Local and regional taxes:  After receiving a declaration of a new address, the local municipality will automatically contact its own departments, those of the old municipality and the regional office to make the necessary changes for regional tax, business tax or property taxes.

Income tax and VAT: The tax and VAT (if self-employed) offices for the old address need to be informed of the move so that they can transfer files to the office or department for the new address. Even if the old and new addresses are covered by the same office, they may be dealt with by different teams. The contact details are on the tax return.

Update Social Security and Health Insurance Funds

These need to be contacted and informed of the change of address.

  • For contact details of social security funds: Click here
  • For contact details of health insurance funds: Click here

Alert Schools and Crèches

If a child is in a state school or crèche, they may stay there even if the new address is in a different municipality although there may be an increase in fees for after-school clubs, holiday clubs and meals provided by the school if the child moves out of the municipality.

If a child moves school, the old school needs to know of the move at least one month in advance to contact the new school.

Inform Doctors

Doctors should be given the new address so that they can update their records.

Patients have free choice of their doctor and it is not necessary to change because of the move. If it is more convenient to change, patients can visit any doctor in the new area. It is not necessary to register with a doctor, although it is encouraged by the health insurance companies.

End Tenancy Contract for Rental Property

The tenant has the right to leave at any time without reason as long as the landlord is informed at least three months before departure and pays rent during this period. If moving from a property rented for less than three years, an indemnity may be due to the landlord, which can be up to three month's rent. Always check the tenancy agreement for details of the notice period.

When a tenant moves into a property a surveyor makes an inventory of the property (staat van de huis/état des lieux) and notes the contents and exact condition of the proprty. When the tenant leaves a surveyor draws up another inventory and compares it to the one made when the tenant moved in.

All damage and problems are listed on a form, which the tenant and landlord then both sign. Any changes needed to restore the property to its condition when the tenant first moved in are paid for from the guarantee lodged by the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy.

This surveyor is usually chosen and paid for by the owner, although some tenancy agreements may specify that the costs are shared by the owner and tenant. In case of disputes, the tenant can hire their own surveyor to make a separate inventory.

Shared houses and apartment buildings

A shared home or apartment may be subject to new tenants' association rules on noise, for example when to lock the front door, visitors' parking and use of hallways. These are listed in the building's co-ownership regulations, which are usually available in either French or Dutch. The tenants' association may have a translation into English if one of the owners is an English-speaker.

Moving Day: Street Loading

In Brussels, street loading space for removals vehicles can be arranged in advance. At least four days before moving day, contact the local police station or the Technical Department of Traffic Police (Service Technique de la Circulation de la police de Bruxelles-Capitale-Ixelles). There is a fee due (price depends on the size of space reserved and the period of time) which must be paid by bank transfer at the time of making the booking.

  • Service Technique de la Circulation 
    At
    : Rue des Palais 321, 1000 Brussels
    Tel: 02 279 83 51
    Fax: 02 279 83 08;
  • To find a local police station: Click here
  • For more information: Click here (in French)

Further Information