How to Find an Apartment in Brussels
Where to Start
It's an exciting time to be contemplating a move to Brussels. With the city being the hub for all Brexit and tax discussions, it is the perfect place for international tax professionals. Kingpin International have put together our guide to finding your new apartment in Brussels.
It is recommended that expats rent a property compared to buying. However, there are not many restrictions for foreigners buying property in Belgium if this is the route you want to take. The easiest way to find a property in Brussels is by conducting an online search. There are many online portals to consult with, some of which are listed at the end of the article. A more traditional way is checking local newspapers, although this may be difficult if you are planning to have an apartment in place for your arrival.
If you need some guidance then perhaps a more reliable yet costlier way to find your perfect property in Brussels is by using a real-estate or rental agent. These advisors typically know the city extremely well and can narrow down your search to properties that genuinely fulfil your requirements. This is often recommended in Brussels as there are a variety of different laws associated with the renting of property, therefore minimising any potential issues and giving you peace of mind.
Some Things to Remember
There are some aspects to property searching and renting in Brussels that are unique and well worth noting:
- Rental prices usually do not include utilities such as electricity, water and Internet, so it is highly recommended that you ask about this before signing any lease.
- Unlike many other European cities, tenants have more freedom with their rental property. However, with this freedom comes responsibility which means the tenant is also responsible for some slightly less glamorous jobs such as clearing the gutters and maintaining the garden areas to an appropriate level. All responsibilities will be written into the tenancy agreement.
- Properties in Brussels are typically rented unfurnished and empty. This means that the property usually has no carpets, kitchen fittings or wardrobes. For some, this is exactly what they are after but for others, this can be inconvenient. Therefore, it is always important to read the advertisement and subsequent terms very carefully in order to see what is included.
- In Belgium, there are 4 types of rental contract; Short-term (three years or less); nine years (between three and nine years), long-term (more than nine years) and a lifelong contract.
Our Top 4 Areas to Consider
The city has many areas that offer different advantages, depending on what you are looking for and what is important for you. Some are closer to international schools than others and considered better for family-life, and some are right in the heart of the city. It is recommended to do some initial research to find out what parts of the city might appeal the most and which areas best suit your requirements, enabling a more specific and tailored search for your new home.
1. Brussels City/Ixelles
This busy central location is ideal for those seeking an apartment in the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Situated right in the heart of Brussels this makes the area very attractive, although it is more expensive and there will often be limited parking. Ixelles is another central location, bursting with restaurants and shops that is home to a very diverse community.
Waterloo is a popular suburb for expats and is much quieter but only a 14-minute train ride to the city. There is a good variety of restaurants and bars, as well as the main shopping street. This area is more aligned for those with children due to the availability of larger properties and the close proximity to some of the International schools in Brussels.
This leafy residential area of Brussels is also popular with families due to the availability of larger housing and the amount of green space and parks. Although fairly expensive it is an ideal location for access to the highway, airport and the city centre, making it a very desirable location for expats.
Like most cities, you generally start to find more spacious properties for a better price as you move away from the centre of Brussels and into surrounding areas and suburbs. Etterbeek is home to a variety of markets and shopping areas as well as good transport links to the city centre. The area encompasses a nice range of apartments and townhouses and is also often more affordable than some of the other areas across Brussels. The area is also home to international schools, cultural venues and the top end of Brussels’ famous Parc du Cinquantenaire.
As previously mentioned, there are some good online sources for information and to find properties that are available in the city:
If you are interested in a move to Brussels or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about international tax opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current international tax vacancies.