700,000 people rent a property in Flanders. Although the average monthly rent for the region as a whole is 614.11 euro, there are big differences in the cost of renting a home between the 5 Flemish provinces. With its proximity to Brussels, Flemish Brabant is the most expensive place to rent a house or flat. There the average monthly rent is 655.83 euro.
The only two provinces in Flanders where the average monthly rent for a house or flat less than 600 euro are West Flanders and Limburg.
As well a location, the type of property rented also has an influence on the price. Last year the average rent paid for a studio flat was 443 euro/month, while an apartment cost an average of 606 euro/month. A detached house cost an average of 785 euro/month.
More expensive every year
The cost of renting a home goes up every year. Although an average year-on-year increase on 14 euro/month might not seem like much Joy Verstichele of the Flemish Tenants’ Association told VRT News “This maybe doesn’t seem like much, but renting is becoming almost unaffordable for people. Many Flemings don’t know what to do”.
The Tenants’ Association has a number of proposals that it believes would make renting a home more affordable. The first is more social housing “There are currently around 155,000 social housing properties. However, 135,000 Flemings are on the waiting list. In the meantime they have to pay expensive rents in the private sector”.
Another option could be to offer fiscal incentives to those that rent out a quality property to those in need at an affordable rent.
Finally, the Tenants’ Association calls on the Flemish Government to expand the existing system of rent subsidies. "Few tenants care able to benefit from the subsidies. The conditions need to be relaxed.
More and more people unable to afford deposit
Those wishing to rent a home must pay a deposit. Up until last year this was the equivalent of 2 months’ rent. However, this has been increased to 3 months’ rent. Those that are unable to pay can if they apply for an interest-free loan. “Last year half of new tenants had difficulty paying their deposit. This is 10% more than 5 years ago. There will be a housing crisis in Flanders if we don’t act", Ms Verstichele added.