Accommodation in Belgium
Expats will find plenty of reasonably priced, comfortable options available to them for accommodation in Belgium. All kinds of housing can be found, whether it be furnished or unfurnished, from houses to luxury apartments.
Since Belgium is such a popular expat destination – with swathes of foreign nationals living in Brussels, Wavre, Overijse, Waterloo, Rhode-St-Genese, Genval, Rixensart and La Hulpe, as well as the university towns of Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve – another benefit of relocating here is that expats don't need to worry about feeling lonely or cut off from familiar society.
Types of accommodation in Belgium
The standard of accommodation in Belgium is typical of the Benelux countries, with comfortable – though small – houses predominating. Air conditioning is not a common feature (though it's rarely necessary), while the vast majority of houses have adequate heating systems. Expats should be aware that condominium complexes, of the kind that might include a swimming pool or a gym, are incredibly scarce.
In terms of community and parks, Belgium is a very family-friendly country. Although properties tend to be on the small side inside the city (especially those without gardens), moving outside the city limits will grant a bigger property and some beautiful country views. In any case, there is a plethora of outdoor areas, such as parks, swimming pools, tennis clubs and children's gyms – enabling expats to spend time with the family in maximum comfort.
Home safety in Belgium
Home security is not a major issue in Belgium. Although minor break-ins do occur in some neighbourhoods (especially in the larger cities), these crimes are hardly violent, and more often than not, the installation of a simple alarm system will be enough to deter potential robbers. Time and again, expats report that they feel very safe in their homes in Belgium.
Renting property in Belgium
Most expats opt for renting property in Belgium and normally use a rental agent. It is useful to note that the standard, assumed lease agreement in Belgium is nine years. Anything longer than nine years is considered a long-term lease. Contracts lasting three years or less are also available, for a short-term rent option.
Strangely enough, many expats find that for shorter stays in the country, it is in fact a better idea to go the nine-year route, as these agreements are generally more flexible. The letting agent should be aware of how long their client intends to stay in Belgium, however, so they can find the best option to suit their needs. Expats should also be aware that, under normal circumstances, tenants in Belgium are liable for all their utility bills and any "unusual" wear and tear on the building. It's best to have an expert document exactly how the house or apartment looked (inside and out) before moving in and as soon as one moves out.
Generally speaking, expats will be delighted to know that the cost of accommodation in Belgium, relative to the average salary and other living expenses, is extremely reasonable. Many expats find that a modest portion of their salary is enough to cover the rental for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house – although renting property in Brussels, especially near the city centre, is more expensive.
While shipping furniture to Belgium is a viable option, expats can also rest assured that they won't have too much difficulty buying furniture in Belgium to suit their new home. There is a wide range of options available, from IKEA to antique stores, and everything in between.