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Landlord data protection

Question

Hello, I am seeking to rent a flat in Brussels and the landlord has just sent me the contract. It includes a provision that I must notify them of every person who stays overnight in the flat and send their name and nationality to the landlord. When I asked about it, they said that all their other tenants had accepted the provision. Does anyone know if this is legal? Or know of an association that I could send this information to? I find it pretty invasive and will not take the flat, but if there is a violation here I would like to flag it up to the relevant association or authority.

CMH

You are right not to take this property, and to take your complaint to a higher authority. This is an outrageous demand by the landlord, one which I have never come across in all my time as a tenant.

Jan 31, 2017 18:13
kasseistamper

This is a contract.
You can put whatever you like in a contract so long as it is not illegal and, so long as both parties are in agreement and sign freely, the contract is valid. If your landlord wants to be paid in €10.00 notes, in cash, and you are OK with that, it's not illegal so such a contract would be valid.
It is not illegal to ask for details of people staying overnight - hotels, for example, do it as a matter of course - so, if you are happy you sign the contract and if you are not you don't.
I agree that it is unusual but it's not illegal.

Jan 31, 2017 22:22
becasse

Managing such information would be a real hassle for a landlord, particularly as it would be subject to data protection rules, so there must be a reason for it.

It may be that some of the apartments are or can be used as holiday lets (and thus be subject to the overnight visitor tax), or that the location is sensitive and the police/security services have asked the landlord to collect the data, or it could just be that one of the apartments has been used as a classy brothel in the past and this is the way in which the landlord hopes to prevent future such activities.

Jan 31, 2017 23:46
Grace Jones

Thanks for your comments, this is really useful. If there's no legal question, I think I will still take it to a tenants rights organisation or the housing dept of the commune/region so that they know that this kind of thing is going on. I feel like this is an abuse of their position as landlords and that if I pay my rent I have a right to privacy. Oh well! Great place but its obviously not for me!

Feb 1, 2017 10:17
kasseistamper

You don't make it clear whether you asked specifically why tenants were being asked for these details. Perhaps you should before taking any further action.
There may be a perfectly legitimate reason - overnight visitor tax is an obvious one - and I'm guessing that you don't think twice when you are asked for these details when you stay in an hotel.

Feb 1, 2017 11:34
Grace Jones

I asked for more detail and got a reply saying they found someone else. Whatever the reason, legal or otherwise, I think its invasive. If my father comes to visit for a weekend, I don't want to submit his personal details to my landlord. I'm looking to rent a home, a residence, where I live maybe for several years, and keep my things and welcome people to... a night in a hotel is a different thing altogether. Anyway, I seemed to have found something else and its great so its not a big deal. Just don't think this is the kind of thing renters should meekly accept.

Feb 1, 2017 13:37
becasse

Note that the laws changed today in the Brussels Capital Region and any overnight stay by a paying guest is now taxable. This alone might give your landlord the right to demand this information.

Feb 1, 2017 16:14
E.Ash

Becasse,

Read the law and you will see that it does not apply in a situation where you rent an appartement in the way it is described above.

It is about B&B type of stays

Feb 4, 2017 15:50
becasse

E.Ash

I appreciate that it applies to B&B type stays, after all I referred to a paying guest, and not to a rental contract. However, the landlord would appear to be responsible for ensuring that either there are no paying guests (and therefore no overnight stay tax due) or that, if there are, the tax is paid. This poses an immediate problem for the landlord in differentiating between paying guests and casual non-paying ones (the boyfriend, for example). Being Belgium it is likely that the authorities have thought through this problem and a possible solution would be to give the landlord the right to demand information on all overnight guests.
The problem doesn't apply to me, not least because I don't live in the BCR, so I haven't been through the new regulations with a fine tooth comb, but I do know enough to understand that complying with the rules about payment is going to require records to be kept - and I only suggested that this MIGHT be why the landlord was demanding information.

Feb 4, 2017 21:46
RPPKN

This law does not apply to properties which are rented to tenants who use them as their home and are officially domiciled there. This would obviously be the case with the apartment in question.

The landlord can have no feasible and legal reason to ask for this information. It's pure nosiness and getting involved in matters that are of no concern whatsoever to them.

In fact, Grace would be have been perfectly entitled to sign the contract and then simply completely ignore that provision and let no matter how many of her friends and relatives to stay overnight without informing the landlord in any way. There is no court in Belgium that would side with the landlord on this. The provision (asking for the name and nationality of every single overnight guest - give me a break!!) is a gross intrusion to the privacy of the tenant.

In Belgium, the courts have even stated that if there is a clause in a rental contract which prohibits pets, the clause is null and void because it interferes to the tenant's right of private life. How on earth it could be legal to demand such personal information as names and nationalities of overnight visitors?

Feb 5, 2017 14:57