General information on the rent of the main residence

Vakantie in Etretat

The law on the rent of the main residence is mandatory, which means that the parties cannot legally derogate from it under the contract. The mandatory rule also applies if the rental contract contains a contrary stipulation. In this case, the contrary clause is null and void. The rules deriving from the law are imperative, except to the extent that the law itself provides that this is not the case.

What do we mean by principal residence?

There is not a criterion. A principal residence is the place where a person has established “the center of his social and professional interests”, where he effectively organizes his main family activities. An important criterion is registration in the population register, but not the only one. The consumption of electricity and gas, the correspondence which is regularly sent to the rented property, the enrollment of a child in a school close to the rented property, the data of the municipal authorities or the police services can also be used as information. . When entering into a lease, the lessor must consent to the transfer as the principal residence of the property leased by the lessee.

As a tenant, who can be subject to the application of tenancy law?

In principle, only natural persons can count on this protection, provided, of course, that the conditions for the application of this law are met. For example, companies are excluded from this protection.
Exception: some legal persons may rent accommodation under the rental lease contract in order to sublet it entirely to disadvantaged people.

However, these legal persons must simultaneously fulfill four conditions:

  • they must be municipalities, CPAS, non-profit organizations, institutions of public interest or associations with a social purpose (SFS)
  • the sub-tenant must be economically disadvantaged
  • the rented property will only serve as a main residence
  • the owner authorizes the sublet
  • As a landlord, who can be subject to the application of the law on the lease?
  • Natural and legal persons may be subject to the application of this law.
  • Mixed use The same lease can simultaneously cover premises allocated for different purposes.

What are the obligations of the parties?

Reminder of the main obligations of the parties:

  • Obligation of the owner to deliver the goods. This obligation is subject to specific rules concerning the rental of a main residence.
  • Taking possession of the tenant
  • The obligation to pay the rent: there are specific provisions on leases for the main residence
  • Obligation of the owner to guarantee the peaceful enjoyment of the tenant
  • The parties’ obligations in terms of maintenance and repair: The tenant has the obligation to use the rented property with care
  • No specific provision concerning the owner’s privilege, nor concerning the obligation to furnish the rented property

What are the obligations regarding the condition of the leased property?

Under common law, the lessor has the obligation to deliver the good of all shapes and sizes in good condition and to carry out all the necessary repairs (not rental) during the rental period.

These provisions are not mandatory and in practice most contracts stipulate that the tenant accepts the property as is. Without modifying the general regime, which remains fully applicable, the legislator intervened in the area of ​​the rent of the main dwelling to impose compliance with a minimum threshold.

The owner who rents a building intended for the main residence of the tenant is required:

  • On the one hand, with regard to the general obligation referred to in Articles 1719 and 1720 of the Civil Code: he must return the property in good condition of all kinds and is liable to the lessee for any vices or defects preventing its repair. ‘use.
  • On the other hand, specific obligations for the leases of main residences, which relate to fundamental requirements of safety, hygiene and habitability. The parties can only derogate from these specific legal restrictions within the framework of a renovation lease contract.

Housing assignment for a married or cohabiting couple.

The right to the lease of the building rented by one of the spouses, even before the marriage, and allocated in whole or in part to the main family accommodation, belongs jointly to the spouses, notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary. The holidays, notifications and exploits relating to this lease must be addressed or served separately to each of the spouses or emanate from both. However, each of the spouses may not invoke the nullity of these acts addressed to or emanating from his or her spouse only on the condition that the lessor is aware of the marriage. The above-mentioned rules for housing married couples will apply by analogy for legal cohabitants.