Property Jargon

A guide to useful words, terms and phrases relating to buying or renting a house or apartment in Belgium...

Below are some of the key French-language jargon terms used in Belgian newspapers, magazines and online when advertising property (houses and apartments) for sale and to let and the terminology used when agreeing to rent a property.

Words and Phrases Used on Rental Contracts

French English
Avis d'échéance (ou
appel de loyer)
Notification by the landlord of the date on which rental payment is due. However such notification is not mandatory, and the lessee must pay rent due on the scheduled date even if an "avis" has not been received
Bail A leasing agreement. Written contract between tenant and landlord, obligatory in Belgium under the law of 6 July 1989
Bailleur Landlord
Caution Security deposit
Congé Normal term is résiliation which means termination of contract. It must be sent by registered letter. The landlord may not refuse to accept it.
Copropriété (Réglement de) The conditions governing the use of "communal areas" (communal staircases, corridors, rooms, services, hall, concierge) in a residential building. This normally involves several owners
Charges récupérables Costs reimbursed to the tenant by the landlord in the event of over-payment. The term normally refers to water, gas, electricity and heating costs, certain taxes and a proportion of joint operating costs. The list of "recoverable" charges is laid down in the decree of August 26 1987
Clause résolutoire A clause allowing the landlord to terminate the contract prematurely. Confirmation of this clause must be sent by registered letter.
Dépôt de garantie (DDG) Security lodged in a blocked account and signed by tenant and landlord. Does not normally exceed three months rent. It is refunded at the end of the rental contract following an inspection of the premises to determine whether any damages are payable
Election de domicile Legal requirement for each signatory of a contract to state an address which will be referred to in all pertinent contract deeds
Etat des Lieux Condition report made during a survey of premises. This is of major importance for the tenant and establishes the condition prior to moving in or out and ensures that a tenant is not liable for damage incurred before the tenancy begins or after it ends. The survey is carried out by an approved expert with both tenant and landlord in attendance
Preneur The tenant (name on the rental contract or the lease)
Préavis (délai de) A period of notice which the tenant or landlord is legally required to give by registered letter (for example, in order to cancel the lease)
Provision (pour charges) A monthly amount payable over and above the rent, intended to cover the tenant's accumulated charges. The landlord will make an annual adjustment and reimburse the tenant in the event of overpayment
Quittance de loyer Rental receipt. Issued by the landlord against each rental payment. Not to be confused with the notification of payment due
Réparations locatives Any minor repairs necessitated by the tenancy. The list of such repairs is laid down in a decree dated August 26, 1987
Terme échu - à échoir (paiement à) A long term rental agreement stipulates that rent is to be paid in advance, usually before the beginning of the next month.

Words and Phrases Used in Property Advertisements

French English
copropriété co-ownership (apartments)
coin cuisine breakfast area
cuisine (cuis) kitchen
cuisine americaine open-plan kitchen
cuisine équipée fitted kitchen
cuisine aménagée fitted kitchen
de plain pied single storey/bungalow
dépendances outbuildings
dépot de garantie rental deposit
digicode security entry with digital code
dossier de candidature rent application form
douche (dche) shower
en 3 niveaux 3 storey
en bon état in good condition/repair
entrée (ent) entry, entrance
étage (et.) floor
état des lieux survey of premises
exclusivité exclusive agent
exposé sud south facing
frais d'agence inclus (FAI) including agency fees
garage (gge)/box garage
gardien (gard) caretaker
Genoise(s) run of edge roof tiles
hauteur sous plafond (HSP) ceiling clearance
honoraires d'agence agency fees
immeuble (imm) building or residence
immobilier real estate
jardin (jard.) garden
jumelé semi-detached
largeur (larg.) width
logement meublé furnished accommodation
logement vide unfurnished accommodation
loyer rent
maison d'amis separate guest house
mazet (or maset) separate cottage (usually the original on the land)
meublé/équipé furnished
neuf all-new construction
nombre de pieces number of rooms
nombreux (nbx) many
parking parking place
penderies wardrobe, hanging closet
pièce (p) room
pierre de taille (pdt) freestone
placards built-in cupboards/wall cupboards
porte (pte) door
préavis notice
prix (px) price
quartier (quart) district/neighbourhood
rangements storage cupboards
récent built in the last decade
résidence (rés) building
restanques terraced areas (usually with drystone walls)
rez de chaussée (rdc) ground floor
salle de bain (sdb) bathroom
salle de bains (baignoire) bathroom with bath
salle de douche shower
salle d'eau (s.d'eau) shower room
salle à manger (sàm) dining room
salle de séjour (séj ss) living room
séjour (séj) lounge/sitting room
séparé (sép.) separate
sous-sol (s.sol, s/s) basement
sous terrain (s/terrain) below ground level, underground
stand (std) quality/luxury building
sur terrain de... land area
surface habitable (SH) total living space
terrasse terrace, paved exterior area, large balcony
très bon état (TBE) in very good condition
tout confort (tt cft.) all mod. cons.
WC séparées separate toilet