Accommodation in Belgium
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Expats will find plenty of reasonably priced, comfortable options available to them when looking for accommodation in Belgium. All kinds of housing can be found, whether it be furnished or unfurnished, from freestanding houses to luxury apartments.
Home security in Belgium is not a major issue. Although minor break-ins do occur in some neighbourhoods, these crimes are hardly ever violent. More often than not, the installation of a simple alarm system will be enough to deter potential robbers. Expats usually report that they feel safe in their homes in Belgium.
Types of accommodation in Belgium
The standard of accommodation in Belgium is typical of the Benelux countries, with comfortable, small houses predominating. Air conditioning is not a common feature, 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 scarce.
In terms of community and parks, Belgium is a very family-friendly country. Although properties tend to be on the small side in the city, moving outside the city limits will often grant expats a bigger property and some beautiful country views. Within the city, there is also a plethora of outdoor areas, such as parks, swimming pools, tennis clubs and children's gyms.
Finding accommodation in Belgium
It should not be difficult for expats to find and secure accommodation in Belgium. There are a number of online resources which can be used to find a home before arriving in the country, although it is always recommended that expats see a property in person before signing a lease. Expats will also be able to use the classifieds section of their local newspapers in their search.
Rental agencies in Belgium offer a hassle-free means of finding accommodation and will usually handle all the administrative processes. However, expats should be aware that these specialists do charge a fee.
Renting property in Belgium
Most expats opt for renting property in Belgium and will 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 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 looks before moving in and as soon as one moves out.
Generally speaking, expats will be glad 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 home. 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 to suit their new home. There is a wide range of options available, from IKEA to antique stores, and everything in between.