Inventory of fixtures
of a rental in Belgium
The inventory of fixtures of a real estate rental is carried out at the entrance and at the exit of the rental property. This is an important step in the contractual relationship between the tenant and the lessor. Many disputes between lessor and lessee are based on the contradictory inventories carried out at the start and at the end of the rental lease. The release of the rental guarantee constituted by the tenant is an issue directly linked to the observation made through the inventory.
What is a rental inventory?
A rental inventory is a mandatory process when renting a property in Belgium. The inventory of fixtures of a property is made at the entry and at the exit of the rental lease to be able to note the possible damage relating to the rental period.
The inventory is a written document that is as detailed as possible. It is used to accurately describe the condition of the leased property, whether at the start of the lease or at the end of the contract. This mandatory document must be attached to the lease contract and registered by the owner with the lease.
Is the inventory of fixtures compulsory?
In Belgium, article 1730 of the Civil Code indicates that “The parties must draw up a detailed inventory of fixtures jointly and at common expense”. This document is therefore mandatory in the process of renting a property.
Other elements are mandatory and to be organized before signing the lease. The two main things to be done by the tenant before signing the lease are:
– Constitute a rental guarantee for the amount fixed in the lease contract;
– Take out fire insurance to protect the home.
What are the conditions of validity of an inventory?
The validity of an inventory is based on compliance with certain rules. To be valid, the inventory must be:
- Contradictory: in the presence of the tenant and the owner or someone who represents them);
- Dated and signed by both parties (by the tenant and the owner);
- Detailed and precise in its writing and in the description of the whole house;
Established before the start of the lease or during the first month of occupancy.
How does an inventory take place?
The inventory is carried out in the presence of both parties to the lease contract. The different steps to plan for a good progress of the inventory are:
- Agree on a date to be sure to carry out the inventory at the right time:
– Just before the start of the rental for the entry inventory
– Just after the end of the rental for the exit inventory.
- Bring all the keys to access all the rooms and the various meters of the rented property (electricity, water, etc.). The meter reading is mentioned on the inventory;
- Use a model to carry out an inventory in accordance with the regulations in force. The use of a model facilitates the progress of the inventory. The fact of using an example makes it possible not to commit irregularities or omissions in the drafting of the final report.
- Browse the rental property to write the detailed description of all the rooms without omitting any part of the accommodation;
- Add photos to allow a perfect understanding of the anomalies described in the inventory. The photos are dated and indicate their location;
Date and sign the final document established in a contradictory manner. The more the document is detailed and the drafting shared between the parties, the less there is a future risk of contesting the inventory.
What should the inventory contain?
The inventory is a precise and written description of the state of the property rented out. The inventory contains the following elements:
- The type of inventory, therefore a state of entry or exit of the premises;
- The date of completion;
- The complete identity of the parties, names and addresses of the lessor and the tenants;
- The identity of the expert or any other person participating in the drafting of the inventory as an agent;
- The description of all the rooms in the rental: The description of the condition of the ceiling, windows, walls and floor. The description of the electrical and heating installation, the furniture, the kitchen and the bathrooms;
- The number of keys and what they give access to (cellars, doors);
- The reading of individual water or energy consumption meters;
- The signature of both parties (or their representatives).
What is an entry inventory?
The inventory of fixtures of entry of a real estate rental is a descriptive state of the accommodation at the time of the entry of the tenant in the places. This detailed report is drawn up just before the keys are handed over by the owner at the start of the rental lease. The entry inventory serves as a reference at the start of the lease, it is intended to be compared to the exit inventory drawn up at the end of the tenant’s stay.
What is the exit inventory?
The exit inventory details the condition of the accommodation at the time of the tenant’s departure. It is established just before the keys are handed over by the tenant. The exit inventory is intended to be compared to the entry inventory that was drawn up when the tenant arrived. The purpose of this comparison is to identify the damage associated with the rental period and to set the amount of the corresponding financial compensation.
Depending on the duration of the rental, the parties must take into account the dilapidation of the accommodation and normal rental wear and tear to determine the repairs which will not be the responsibility of the tenant.
Who can do the inventory?
The inventory can be organized in two different ways:
- It can be carried out by the tenant and the owner together amicably.
- It can be carried out in the presence of one or more experts.
The amicable inventory of fixtures has the advantage of being free because no expert intervenes. When the tenant or the owner appoints a real estate expert, the expert’s fees are to be shared equally between the two parties.
The two parties can also each appoint an expert at their own expense when they cannot reach an agreement.
Can we dispute an inventory?
When the inventory is established by only one of the two parties, the other party can always contest it. Contesting an inventory carried out independently by the tenant or the owner is very simple: the person who was not present can send their comments and modifications in writing. The modifications will be studied and then potentially added by the parties before signing it.
When the tenant and the owner do not agree on how to establish the inventory, they can ask the justice of the peace to appoint a real estate expert. This legal request must be introduced during the 1st month of the rental lease.
How much does a condition report cost?
The price of an inventory depends on how it is organized. There are two main ways to take stock:
- The free inventory is possible if it is carried out between the tenant and the lessor amicably. No third party joins the progress of the inventory so there are no additional costs;
- The price of an inventory carried out by an expert varies from 150 euros to 450 euros. The price is proportional to the surface area of the property and the number of rooms to be appraised.
Example of inventory
Here is a free model of the inventory drawn up according to the rules in force in the Brussels-Capital region. This rental inventory report is presented in the form of a standard document to be completed.
Most inventory templates available to you on the Internet are inventory in pdf document format. All you have to do is print the attached document and complete it by hand during the visit to the rental property.