The Flemish Lease Decree: what is changing?
Since the Sixth State Reform of 1 July 2014, leasing matters fall within the competence of the Regions. In this context, the Flemish Government has recently approved the draft Flemish Lease Decree (“Vlaams Huurdecreet”), which will mainly apply to residences and student housing.
However, note that the Flemish Residence Council and the Council of State first have to give their opinion on the draft text. After that, the Flemish Government has to give its final approval. The last step is submitting the draft to the Flemish Parliament. The intention is to have the Flemish Lease Decree come into force on 1 September 2018.
What will change?
- The lease guarantee will be increased from 2 months to 3 months. In addition, in specific cases, it will be possible to obtain anonymously an interest-free lease guarantee loan. However, the increase in the lease guarantee will only be introduced once the interest-free loan has been made available.
- The Flemish Lease Decree will contain a provision on the possibility to request an inventory of fixtures after termination of the agreement.
- Termination possibilities will be expanded. It will be possible for lessees to terminate short rental agreements (max. 3 years) early, provided that they pay a termination fee. Also early termination of the rental agreement by the lessor for renovation purposes has been made easier.
- The tenant will have to take out a water damage insurance policy and a fire insurance policy.
- The leased premises will have to comply with the regional quality standards laid down by the Flemish Residential Code. If the premises do not comply with these standards when starting the lease agreement, the lease agreement will be null and void. If the premises do not comply with the regional quality standards during the lease agreement, the cantonal judge (“vrederechter”) has to provide an appropriate solution.
- The lessor can only request documents that are necessary to verify if the lessee can fulfil its obligations. For example, documents that state the lessee’s identity, place of residence and income.
- The Flemish Lease Decree will contain a chapter with provisions on co-renting. This chapter will apply to married couples, legal cohabitants and factual cohabitants. Among others it regulates the liability of lessees, the amendment of contracts and legal redress.
For questions about this Decree, please contact Fran Claes.