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Exact penalty for breaking lease prematurely


I'm a UK national who will likely return there due to ill health which will mean leaving my apartment while still within the contract.
The contract is for 1 year and I'm 4 months into it.
My landlord said I'd have to pay 3 months as a penalty. There is apparently also the requirement to provide 3 month's notice. Does this mean in effect that if i left immediately, for arguments sake, that I'd have to pay the 3 months notice and the 3 month penalty, effectively 6 months?
Thanks in advance.


If that is what the contract says then yes you need to pay 6 months rent.

Jun 9, 2019 22:58
Christs Chin

The contract didn't specify a 3 months' notice fee, but i was wondering if that is standard in Belgian law and would apply anyway, so therefore would not need to be stated.

Jun 9, 2019 23:02
Christs Chin

Actually, I've checked again, you're right, it does specify this.

Jun 9, 2019 23:22

If you have a one-year contract, you are being let off lightly. With most such contracts you would have had to pay the full 12 months. The landlord has, in effect, agreed to just let you pay what you would have paid had it been a standard 9 year contract, ie 3 months (full calendar) month's notice (or payment in lieu) plus a 3 month penalty for terminating in the first year.

The penalty in a standard contract (which would 2 months in the second year and 1 month in the third) is intended to compensate the landlord for the costs involved in having to relet.

Jun 10, 2019 10:35

Are you living in Brussels? If you are four months into your contract, your rental contract has been signed after 1 September 2018. It should thus be under the new rules, which entered into force on that date.

One of the changes is that also a short-term lease can be ended early by the tenant, by giving a three month notice and paying a penalty of one month's rent.

"Le preneur peut résilier le bail à tout moment, moyennant un préavis de trois mois et une indemnité équivalente à un mois de loyer."

If you landlord has used an old contract which states you have to pay a penalty of three months, this is not legally valid.

N.B. If you do not live in Brussels the law may be different.

Jun 10, 2019 11:29

And Becasse, you are thinking of the old law when a 12-month contract really meant that the tenant had to pay rent for the full 12 months (unless the landlord agreed to do the tenant a favour, or a judge decided to make the compensation more reasonable).

Jun 10, 2019 11:34
Christs Chin

You know, some of the Estate Agents mentioned this new law but my landlord and some others to whom i spoke apparently weren't aware of it.
Thanks RPPKN. That's very helpful!

Jun 10, 2019 15:07

I wouldn't be at all surprised if your landlord was fully aware of the new law but has conveniently "forgotten" about this important change. The law is on your side so don't let the landlord bamboozle you. You still have to pay the four months of course but at least you can save a bit of money.

Jun 11, 2019 07:05