Moving out: how does it work in Belgium?
Whether you live in Brussels, Wallonia or Flanders, as a tenant, you have to follow different key steps if you want to move out. Let’s discover them 👇
Moving out of a place can be an exciting but also stressful experience, especially in a foreign country like Belgium. Whether you are an expat or a local, there are many steps that need to be taken to ensure a smooth transition. In this blog post, we will guide you through the essential steps you need to take when moving out in Belgium. From giving notice to your landlord to cleaning and repairs, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and make your move out process as stress-free as possible! 😴
Moving out in Belgium: the notice
You’ve been living in an apartment in Belgium. And it’s time for you to terminate your tenancy agreement. They can be many reasons: your accommodation doesn’t answer your needs, you move to another city…
Termination by the tenant
When you terminate a lease contract, there are many steps that need be taken care of. The first one is the notice ⌛️
Your period of notice is 3 months. It means that you have to inform the landlord 3 months before the anniversary date of your contract.
As soon as the letter of cancellation is sent, the procedure starts. But be careful, it will only take effect on the 1st day of the following month. It means that, for example, if you send your letter on the 15th of April. The period of notice starts on the 1st of May.
If you move out before the end of your contract, the landlord is entitled to a relocation allowance. This allowance varies according to the region 👇
- In Wallonia and Brussels, the compensation for breaking the lease contract is one month. It only works for 3-year lease and 9-year lease (only during the first 3-year period).
- In Flanders, the relocation compensation varies according to the duration. Early termination in the first year is equivalent to one and a half months’ rent. For the second year the compensation is 1 month’s rent and for the third year ½ month’s rent
Termination by the landlord
The lease can be terminated by the landlord.
In Wallonia and in Brussels, the landlord can terminate the lease by giving 3 months’ notice (for a 3-year lease) or 6 months’ notice (for a 9-year lease).
In Flanders, the landlord can end the contract at the end of each three-year period, with a notice period of 6 months.
The reasons for termination must be:
- Either for personal occupation of the accommodation or by a relative 🏠
- Either for the completion of major works 🔨
Termination without cause is subject to compensation being paid to the tenant.
Moving out in Belgium: the letter
As a tenant, the law expects you to send a termination letter to your landlord. In Belgium, it is strongly advised to send a registered letter with return receipt. It allows the tenant to formally break the lease and to keep a proof that the procedure was correctly done 👌
What should you find in this termination letter?
Here are the key elements to include in a termination letter sent by the tenant in Belgium:
- Tenant’s and landlord’s contact information
- Subject of the letter
- Announcement of the intention to terminate the lease
- Address of the rental property
- Date of lease termination, along with the legal 3-month notice period
- Tenant’s signature
To send it, it’s quite simple. You just need to go to the nearest post office and request to send it by registered mail with a delivery receipt.
Moving out in Belgium: the inventory of fixtures
The move-out inspection is an essential step during a relocation. It is an inspection carried out either by the landlord or by a specialized company, always in the presence of the tenant 🔎
This visit is used to list all potential rental damages. It includes assessing the condition of the property, any dents or damage to the walls or floors, the state of the paint, and the cleanliness.
This inventory of fixtures is an important document because it is used to determine the return (or non-return) of your security deposit.
The move-out inspection should be conducted once you have moved out and before the arrival of the new tenant.
Moving out in Belgium: the rental deposit
The release of your security deposit must be approved by the landlord. This can be done through a written agreement ✍🏼
The landlord decides whether they want to refund the security deposit in full or not.
It’s possible that you may only receive a partial refund of your security deposit. This distribution will depend on your agreement with the landlord.
Once the agreement is signed by both parties, you simply need to present it to the bank where your security deposit was held.
The legal timeframe for returning the security deposit is 2 months after the end of the lease.
In summary, moving out in Belgium involves several key steps, including giving notice to your landlord with a 3-month notice period, understanding compensation for early termination, and ensuring a proper termination letter is sent. Those steps are essential for a stress-free move-out.