New rules on housing leases soon to come in Wallonia
The new Walloon Decree on housing leases enters into force on
1 September 2018.
The Walloon Decree on housing leases includes, on the one hand, general provisions applicable to all types of housing leases and, on the other hand, provisions specific to each type of housing lease.
The Walloon reform also deals with movable property in order to take into account new forms of habitat (such as yurts, barges or caravans).
The provisions of the Walloon Decree shall be incorporated in the existing Walloon Code on Housing and Sustainable Housing.
It is now clearly stated that all housing leases must be established in writing and that the contract must contain minimum information (e.g. the identity of the contracting parties, date of entry into force of the lease, duration of the lease, type of lease, amount of rent, amount and nature of the private and common charges). For each type of housing lease, a procedure exists which allows one party to oblige the other party to draw up the lease contract following formal notice and if necessary by the judicial way.
Each public/official announcement in order to rent the premises has to contain a certain number of elements (e.g. the amount of rent, the amount and nature of the private/common charges).
In order to avoid any discrimination, the Walloon Decree specifies which information the landlord is allowed to require from a selected candidate tenant (e.g. the name, address, birth date, composition of the household, amount of financial resources, proof of payment of the last 3 rents).
The rented premises must comply with safety, health and habitability requirements during the entire duration of the lease.
The sub-lease and assignment of the lease by the tenant is prohibited without a prior written approval by the landlord.
The parties are obliged to draw up a detailed contradictory state of premises upon entry-into-force at common costs.
This type of lease is concluded for a duration of 9 years (or 3-6-9) and may be terminated by the tenant at any time subject to a 3-month notice and by the landlord for personal occupation of the premises. By derogation, it remains possible to conclude a short term lease (<3years) or a long term lease (>9 years).
The landlord is responsible for the registration of the lease agreement. The costs resulting from a late registration are therefore borne by the landlord. After the 2-month period foreseen by the Code of Registration Duties for the registration and as long as the lease agreement is not registered, the provisions regarding the notice period and indemnities do not apply to the tenant, provided he has sent a formal notice to register that has remained ineffective for one month.
In addition, the Walloon Decree also specifies the modalities with regard to the revision of rent (between the 9th and 6th month preceding the expiry of each quarter), the charges, especially in case of successive leases, the rental guarantee (which may not exceed an amount equal to 2 or 3 months of rent depending on its form).
The tenant must provide proof of his regular enrolment within a school of secondary or higher education in order to benefit from this specific regime. The duration of the student lease agreement is also of maximum 12 months, renewable by periods of one year. The lease shall end at the expiry of its term subject to a 1-month notice.
The tenant may early terminate the lease subject to a 2- month notice (which has to be given prior to15 March) and the payment of an indemnity equal to three month of rent. In certain cases, this indemnity will not be due by the student (such as refusal of inscription or death of a parent).
The tenant is allowed to sub-lease the premises in certain cases with the prior explicit or deemed approval of the landlord.
A student housing label will be awarded to student houses in the Walloon Region that meet quality criteria.
One single lease agreement binds the co-tenants to the landlord and the date of signature, and a co-housing pact has to be annexed to the lease agreement. The co-tenants are jointly and severally liable towards the landlord for the obligations resulting from the lease.
If all the co-tenants end the lease at the same time, the notice has to be signed by each of them. In case of early termination of the lease by one of the co-tenants, a 3-month simultaneous notice has to be given to the landlord as well as each of the other co-tenants. If no replacement is found within this timeframe, the tenant has to pay to his co-tenants an indemnity equal to three times it part of the rent. Should at least half of the co-tenants give their notice, the landlord may end the lease subject to a 6-month notice within the month following the last notice given by a co-tenant.
DominoDe GroodtAttorney at law Associate
Domino De Groodt is an associate and a member of the Loyens & Loeff Real Estate Practice Group in our office in Brussels, Belgium.T: +32 2 700 10 16 E: firstname.lastname@example.org