The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu

Landlord problems

Question

So since we moved in we have had serious issues with out landlord making trouble for us. When we arrived she would not come to meet us and we had to get an Air BNB and wait two days til she came with the keys to let us in. We did manage to have her move the lease start date to accommodate this.

On moving in we noticed that if you have the cooker on at the same time as any other appliance, turning on a 3rd appliance will blow the fuse. I contacted the landlord about this. I then got a phone call from her sister saying that she was the actual landlord and that she wanted to see rent in her account first. As I told her on the phone the rent had already been paid she told me that she did not trust foreigners (we are Irish) and that she would wait to check her account.

She told me an electrician would arrive the next Friday. He did not, he came the following Monday with no notice. I do not think he was an electrician, he arrived with a screwdriver and a pliers and nothing else, he didn't look at any of the electronics instead just turning on and off the cooker, cleaning it a bit, and then leaving. I got an email from the first landlord a few hours later saying that we just couldn't have too many things on at once.

We now feel that this is definitely not a safe place to stay and want to leave but know that the landlord will try screw us as much as possible in breaking the lease.

Is there any body in Brussels that helps tenants against bad landlords?

J Mar 16, 2020 22:13
wezembeekwanderer

A word of warning. Do not try withholding rent to get action from a landlord. It cost some Irish friends over €20,000 in court for breach of contract.
It’s better that the fuse goes. That is keeping you safe.
Good luck.

Mar 17, 2020 09:14
Oppressed in Oppem

Unfortunately, your situation is all too common. Compared with Britain and Ireland, the regulation of landlords is appalling over here and they abuse a system which is already heavily weighted in their favour.

Get some free legal advice (https://1819.brussels/en/tools/who-can-help-me/tele-barreau) and try and get out of there asap. Whenever you rent, try and put a "clause diplomatique" in the lease so that if things go wrong you have a possible exit route.

Mar 17, 2020 12:43
J

The "clause diplomatique" hasn't existed for years. It was made obsolete when rental laws were reformed (over 20 years ago?) and rental laws have been reformed again since (it's now a regional competency)

Leaving in your 1st year will cost you 3 months' notice + 3 months' penalty unless your lease says otherwise.

If the place is unfit because the electricity is unsafe, that's another matter, but you need to talk to someone with a good understanding of what you can and can't do. PIM's forum used to have some top lawyers who would dish out free advice. I suspect they still do.

Mar 17, 2020 13:36
blue

Hi. I feel your pain, we went through something similar a few years ago. For us, things escalated until lawyers letters were exchanged after months of stress and advice from various places. In the end we settled the matter with the landlord directly and moved out. My advice is to try to settle it with the landlord early, take the financial hit and move on. It's not worth the stress. For example offer to forfeit half of your deposit due to breaking the contract early. Ultimately landlords don't want the hassle neither.

Mar 17, 2020 13:38
copymetrics

If this is in Brussels you may use the housing commission of the Brussels Region asking for an inspection. It will visit the place within 2 months. You must show proof that the rent is paid. The commission has the right to shut down the place, but then you have to move out.
The best way is to invite the judge, judge de paix, or the court Marshall (huissier) to come and to constatate the facts. If they are heavy then you can claim the usage trouble (trouble de juissance) in the court. It sounds troublesome but there is no other way if the communication with the landlord to not bring a resolution. You will also need to advance the fees of the huissier, but you get it back when you win. Filing a complaint is easy in any Juge de Paix. you can get in touch with me a@viralhelp.online and I will advise you further free. Alex

Apr 29, 2020 13:00