Renting a house or apartment: what you need to know

A list of everything you need to do

Renting a house or apartment: what you need to know

A list of everything you need to do

Planning on renting a property? How exciting, a place of your own! These tips on renting will help you make sure you’re properly prepared.

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Budget

Before you rent a property, it’s advisable to determine your maximum budget in advance. This will help you narrow down your search.

Also, be sure to take into account any extra costs you will have. These include water, gas and/or electricity and, for instance, service costs for the maintenance of the lift or hall, which are often charged separately.

Security deposit

When you conclude a new rental contract, the owner of the property may ask you to pay a security deposit. A security deposit can vary between 1 and 3 months’ rent, and is paid in addition to your first month’s rent. 

Example: You have your eye on an apartment with a monthly rental fee of 800 euros.
If the security deposit is 2 months’ rent, you’ll need to pay 800 + (2 x 800) = 2 400 euros when your contract enters into effect.
If the security deposit is 3 months’ rent, you’ll need to pay 800 + (3 x 800) = 3 200 euros for the same apartment.


N.B.: if you want to rent a property in Flanders and you’re struggling to pay the security deposit, you may be able to take out an interest-free loan with the Vlaams Woningfonds (Flemish Housing Fund), provided you meet the conditions (in Dutch).

Note that if you take out an interest-free loan with the Vlaams Woningfonds, you won’t be able to arrange your security deposit online. The reason for this is that when you apply for a security deposit loan, you need to provide documentary evidence that you have opened a security deposit account in your name, which you can only obtain from your KBC branch.

Property insurance

Once you’ve found the perfect rental property, in Flanders and Wallonia you’ll be required to take out property insurance. In Brussels, this won’t be the case for the time being.

In addition to fire damage, our property insurance covers tenant’s liability and home contents, ensuring that your personal property (such as furniture, your television and clothing) is properly insured. What’s more, you can organise all of your insurance-related affairs online, wherever and whenever it suits you.

Property survey

When you start renting a property, a property survey is mandatory. A property survey is a document that details the condition of the property when you move in, including photos by way of clarification. Any defects should be listed in the survey, so as to clarify what was and wasn’t damaged when you moved in.

If anything is damaged while you are living in the property, as a tenant you will usually be required to repair it or reimburse the owner.

Youmay need to pay a fee for the property survey, for instance if it is drawn up by an expert. If this is the case, the fee could be anywhere between 300 and 450 euros, to be divided between you and the landlord. Alternatively, you and the owner can jointly draw up an inventory, which costs nothing.

Contract and termination

There are various types of contracts:

  • Long-term contract
    A standard rental agreement or ‘long-term contract’ has a term of 9 years. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 9-year term will be completed. Open-ended rental contracts or rental contracts with a term of between 3 and 9 years are automatically classed as 9-year contracts, which means, for example, 3.5-year contracts have the same status.
  • Other contracts
    There are also short-term rental contracts (3 years or shorter) and contracts with a term exceeding 9 years.

If, as a tenant, you want to terminate your rental contract within the first 3 years, you will need to observe the 3-month notice period and pay a termination fee. The amount of the fee will depend on your type of rental contract.

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