Rental Contract - renewal
I have a rental contract which runs for the duration of a year. It says that the contract will tacitly be renewed after that period. The automatic renewal can be prevented if either tenant or landlord give notice three weeks before the date of renewal.
Furthermore, the contract includes a paragraph stating that the annual renewal triggers an increase of the rent of around a fifth of the rent. I would like to avoid such a significant increase in the rent. Before reaching out to the landlord to find a mutual agreement, I was wondering where I stand legally. From what I have read so far, the annual renewal is not a thing in Belgian rental law. And what about the significant increase in rent? Is it even legal to include that in a rental contract?
Thanks a lot in advance for your advice!
Have you already signed this contract?
If yes, and you are before the three week notice period, give your notice immediately and leave as soon as it is up.
If you haven't signed this contract yet, then don't. Find somewhere else.
Belgian rental laws allow yearly increases but only by a percentage which is calculated on a government website. Usually it is linked to the inflation/cost of living, meaning that the increase in the last few years was very low because inflation rate was also quite low.
One fifth rent increase is definitely suspicious and as suggested above you should run away from.
To give you an example on a year-to-year basis, in my case a rent for over 1,000 eur was increased by little more than 5 eur monthly.
You can check the calculation in:
A lot depends on the level of rent that you are paying now. If the increased rent would still be cost-effective when compared with the going rate then it might be worthwhile to pay it. If the contract is then renewed a second time it automatically becomes a nine-year contract whose further rent increases are limited to the specified rate of inflation as mentioned in previous replies.
It might also be worthwhile calling your landlord's bluff, giving the required notice in the specified manner (are you sure that it is only three weeks and not three calendar months - as would be more normal), but then stating that you are prepared to renew at, say, 3% above your existing rental. Finding a new tenant costs money and you landlord might just find your counter-proposition attractive.