Consumer Rights in Belgium/Renting
I'm unsure how to handle these scenarios. It seems that landlords have far too many rights while renters have none. Any advice would be appreciated. I have contacted the US Embassy and they say to get a lawyer. But we all know that legal costs would be higher than what these landlords are trying to scam from me and they know it, hence the reason they keep getting away with it!
So, in these situations, what can I do?
1) A landlord ordered 1000 liters of mazout for the property I rented from him when I told him that I could only afford to pay for 250, maybe 500 liters. I never authorized this or signed for it. Further, the 1000 liters of mazout didn't even last 3 weeks. Now, I'm forced to pay an 800 euro bill for the mazout that was sent to my address without my authorization. Is this seriously legal? For all I know, the landlord and the owner of the mazout company worked together and scammed me for the landlord's mazout because I know I'm paying for something that was either stolen, used up too quickly by a faulty furnace or was never delivered.
2) A woman put her apartment up for rent and stated to me that she would be subletting the apartment. The amount of rent in the contract was 640, while the amount he usually leases it for is 690 (something he told me after we moved in). Subletting is legal in some states in the US, so I was not alarmed. The current landlord was "honest" and let me live here despite the fact that he could have immediately evicted me at the time of moving in because the contract was not valid.
Now that the lawsuit with the woman that "sublet" the apartment to me is over, he wants to charge me the difference in rent (50 euros per month). He orginally told me not to worry about it until he drew up a contract and now my concern is that he'll show up with a contract and say, "Sign it, pay the 250 euros or get out. NOW."
I have only rented 3 places in Europe and this is how 2 landlords out of 3 have been. Is this the norm and what can you do to protect yourself?
The number 1 website in Belgium for all issues between tenants and landlords is: WWW.PIM.BE
As soon you will have posted your question in the forum section, you will get very fast knowledgeable and legal advices for free.
Please not that in all standard rental contract (Main Residence - 9 years), it is totally forbidden to sublet.