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New house rental laws


My daughter has resettled in Belgium and found a house to rent. The potential landlord told her the 3-6-9 years law has been replaced and the choice is either a one year (not a good idea) or 9 years, which can be resolved by agreement. Can anyone please briefly explain the new law, especially concerning dissolving it "by agreement"?


The 9-year contract is, in effect, flexible, a 1-year contract is much less so.
With the 9-year contract, the renter can end the contract at any time by giving three clear calendar month's notice (in the prescribed manner) to the landlord but if that means that it will be terminated within the first three years there will be a penalty of three additional month's rent if it is terminated within the first year, two months in the second year and one month in the third. (This is intended to compensate the landlord for the costs that will be incurred in finding a new tenant.) In general, the landlord cannot terminate a 9-year contract and the ability to increase the rent is strictly limited to an inflation index even if the landlord sells the property.
A fixed term contract (which can be for any term up to but not exceeding 3 years - here the landlord seems to be proposing one for 1-year) is just that, it cannot be terminated short other than by mutual agreement. It still needs those 3 clear calendar months notice to be given though, by either party, or else it will roll over, either on the same terms or (in certain circumstances) as a 9-year contract. It cannot be replaced by a new contract other than a 9-year one.
It should be particularly noted that in Belgium a tenant with either type of rental contract takes on far more responsibilities for the maintenance of the property than is the case in many other countries - this will be reflected in the rent charged.
This is only a brief explanation and shouldn't be taken as a full explanation of the law, not least because the law varies in detail between Belgium's three regions. It is always a good idea to speak to a notaire/notaris before agreeing (and especially signing) any rental contract, once any contract is agreed, even verbally, that agreement is final on both parties. Remember that any contract has to be in French or Dutch (or German), it can't be in English.

Apr 2, 2019 21:36

So essentially not much has changed and a 9-year contact still protects the tenants if they don't want to move.

Apr 2, 2019 22:44

There is indeed virtually no difference between the old so-called 3-6-9 year contract and the new(-ish) 9-year contract. There are certain grounds on which the landlord can cancel (basically family occupation or the need for total renovation) but even those are severely constrained. Most landlords let out properties as an investment, having good long term tenants is an important part of the return on that investment.

Apr 3, 2019 10:41