Accommodation in Brussels
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Expat looking for accommodation in Brussels shouldn’t have too many problems with finding a place to live. As a city of neighbourhoods, new arrivals will have a wide selection of options when it comes to areas and suburbs in the Belgian capital.
Generally speaking, expats will make a choice between living in one of the city’s districts, known as communes, or in an outlying suburb. The advantage of living in the city is that expats will usually be close to their place of work and have easy access to public transport. However, most international schools are located outside of the city and accommodation is generally more expensive.
On the other hand, expats who choose to live outside of the city will be closer to international schools and will usually be able to rent or buy bigger properties at a lower price than they would in the city. This does, however, mean longer commutes and, in some cases, that the system of public transport in Brussels will be less accessible.
Renting property in Brussels
Most expats choose to rent property, at least at first, and especially if they only intend to stay for a limited time. Most rental properties in Brussels are let unfurnished, which means that tenants must provide their own furniture, including appliances, kitchen cupboards and even ceiling lamps.
It is rare to find a furnished apartment in Brussels except for short-term stays, and these are often pricey. Generally speaking, houses are more expensive to rent than apartments.
Leases in Belgium usually run for three to nine years. It is possible for either the landlord or the tenant to break the lease, but this normally requires written notice of at least three months, and may incur a penalty of several months’ rent in the first two years that the tenant lives in the apartment.
There are strict laws around real estate in Belgium that aim to protect tenants as well as landlords. To receive the full protection of the law, however, expats are advised to follow all the proper processes, which can be obtained from the government’s official information and services website.
Finding property in Brussels
Property in Brussels can be found on bulletin boards, through estate agents and on Internet real estate portals, and it shouldn’t take an expat house hunter too long to find a suitable place to stay.