Flemish Government wants to use private detectives to social housing tenants don’t own property abroad

The Flemish Government plans to use private detectives to carry out checks on social housing tenants in the region to ensure that they don’t own property abroad. The plan was announced by the Flemish Housing Minister Mathias Diependarle (nationalist) in an interview with VRT News’ current affairs programme Terzake. 

The question of whether or not private detectives should be used to carry out checks on tenants of and candidates for social housing isn’t new. Last year the Antwerp’s Social Services Department started using private detectives to carry out checks on its tenants last year. However, it was forced to backtrack after the Federal Minister responsible for social integration demand Denis Ducarme demanded that it stop. However, in June of this year a Justice of the Peace in the East Flemish municipality of Hamme ruled in favour of the local social housing association after it had used the services of private investigators to check whether its tenants owned any property abroad.

In his ruling the Justice of the Peace said “If tenants of candidates to become tenants own a house of a building plot there, it is a valid reason to refuse them social housing here in Belgium”.

Now the new Flemish Government intends to roll out the use of private detectives to make checks on tenants’ foreign property ownership across the region.

Speaking in Friday evening’s edition of Terzake, Mr Diependaele said “We are going to ensure that ever social housing association in Flanders will be able to enlist the help of these kinds of partner. The will be able to carry out checks on whether a person owns a property in various countries both within and outside Europe. It will be up to the individual housing association whether or not they use detective agencies”.