Any occupied apartment necessarily generates rental charges. Two kinds of charges exist:
- rental charges relating to housing;
- common charges.
In Belgium, unlike most countries, there is not a clearly defined list allowing the distribution of charges between the landlord and the lessee, hence the importance of paying particular attention when signing the lease. Indeed, when signing the lease, the tenant’s charges must be identical to the actual charges. The lessor must provide the lessee with the statement of charges. If the amounts do not correspond, it will be necessary to adjust the charges.
The civil code provides that the lessor has the obligation to present the statement of charges in particular by article 1728ter. This article mentions that:
“fees and charges must be mentioned in a separate account”.
The lessor is obliged to send a different and detailed account of the charges so that the tenant is able to verify the charges which are actually incumbent upon him. The tenant is entitled to request supporting documents from his lessor concerning the rental charges at the time of the annual adjustment.
Some apartments are located in a building with several apartments with a single person to manage it. In this case, the tenants have the possibility of consulting the documents at the head office of the manager.
There is no provision by law for a frequency of charges that the lessor is responsible for submitting to the owner. In general rental leases are drawn up in such a way that the accounts are made annually. In the event that the tenant makes a monthly payment of his charges, at the end of the year the charges must correspond to the actual amounts of the expenses and an adjustment in favor of the lessor or the tenant may be considered.
Article 1728ter of the Civil Code provides that the lessor must reimburse the excess provisions for charges that he has received, upon simple written request from the lessee. All lease contracts are drafted in this way and no particular case would mention the contrary.
In most cases, the leases stipulate an automatic adjustment of charges in both directions, which avoids misunderstandings. This is why it is important to check that your rental lease mentions the following clause: “On receipt of the statement of charges, the lessor or lessee will immediately pay the other party the difference between the provisions paid and the actual charges ”.
Note : An adjustment of provisions for charges is possible during the 5 years following the last payment of the provisions.
It all depends on the type of lease. An increase in provision can be made during the lease if it was mentioned at the signing of the lease. The amount can be revised based on actual expenses based on the year before. To avoid the painfulness of recalling charges at the end of the year, the lessor has the possibility of making a monthly rental charge adjustment proposal.
Depending on the lease, the scope of the guarantee is not the same. In theory, the lessor can regulate the charges with the rental deposit you have made. The rental guarantee is provided, among other things, for that. Indeed, it aims to guarantee the owner in the event of:
- Damage to the rental property;
- Unpaid or partially paid rents;
- Adjustment of charges or charges not paid by the tenant.
To conclude, the civil code provides a legal framework so that neither the tenant nor the lessor finds himself in uncomfortable situations. However, it should be kept in mind that what takes precedence is essentially the rental agreement that will have been drawn up.
This is why you must be particularly careful when reading and signing the lease. This avoids many complications afterwards.
If upon reading the lease certain points call out to you, do not hesitate to have them explained to you. Depending on the situation, compromises between lessor and tenant can be considered to get everyone to agree. In this case, it goes without saying that a new lease will have to be drawn up and signed jointly.