Best practices for renting an Airbnb in Brussels
Somewhere 11,427 housing units are offered for seasonal rental on Airbnb in Brussels, a statement from the VUB in a study. Half of the hosts are professionals, who own at least three houses or apartments on the platform, or investors, that is to say individuals who offer one or more homes for more than 120 days a year, indicated still studying.
“We want to prevent the professionalization of tourist accommodation rental.”
The Brussels Region, and the municipalities most affected by the presence of Airbnb accommodation in their territory – Brussels-City, Ixelles, Saint-Gilles – yet have in their sights, and this since the application of the ordinance relating to tourist accommodation in the Brussels Region in 2016, this type of “behavior” on the part of owners who offer goods on Airbnb. The Region has legislated in order toprevent the excessive deployment of tourist accommodation to the detriment of residential accommodation, and the municipalities, for their part, monitor compliance with the legislation on the ground. “We want to prevent the professionalization of tourist accommodation rental,” recalls Ans Persoons, alderman for Urbanism at the City of Brussels.
If some owners have the game and say the rules, others pass on their property by passing under the radar. But what are the rules in force in Brussels to offer your accommodation on Airbnb?
It all depends on whether you are doing an occasional or professional activity.
If Vou offer your personal home, or a room in your home, in which you are domiciled, to tourists less than 4 months per year, you cannot use the accommodation as tourist accommodation and must therefore register the accommodation.
But as soon as you exceed the duration of 4 months, Yeah you rent a property in which you are not domiciled, you must then submit a prior operating declaration file in order to be registered as tourist accommodation with Brussels Economy and Employment.
You must provide about ten documents including your criminal record, the civil liability insurance contract, the agreement of all the co-owners if the property is in an apartment building and other documents that are more difficult to obtain from of the municipal authority, as the town planning conformity certificate for the property.
And it is often this step that gets stuck. The actual use of the property must indeed correspond to that mentioned in the existing permits and plans. If your apartment or house is intended for habitation, but in reality you only want to rent it to passing travelers, then you must change your assignment to move to the hotel establishments category. Or, changing the assignment is very complicated since the regional land use plan, the PRAS, includes a housing protection clause in order to limit the possibilities of removing housing units.
“If the property is used for housing, we will not be able to issue a certificate of urban compliance.”
“The municipality will analyze the town planning conformity of the property and its use. If the property is allocated to housing, we cannot issue a certificate of town planning conformity, because the change of use will require a permit application. It is housing. , not a tourist location. In this case, the administrators often receive a refusal and the file is not complete to be submitted to Brussels Economy and Employment.“, explains the Brussels alderman for Town Planning. In total, since the application of the ordinance in 2016, the City of Brussels has received between 600 and 700 requests for certificates.” Nearly 400 have been refused following urban planning, around 100 are still being processed and the rest has been accepted, “quantifies the alderman.
If you pass this difficult stage of the town planning certificate, you must also comply with the Brussels regulations relating to comfort criteria, which depends on the category in which your property is registered.
The Brussels Region and certain municipalities, such as the City of Brussels, have set up control cells to ensure compliance with local legislation and rules and therefore track down accommodation in urban planning infringement, in other words those which have not obtained a tourist accommodation permit, but which still operate a property on Airbnb.
If you don’t play by the rules of the game, you can be fined. “It’s about a town planning infringement procedure. We first try to find an amicable solution, a dialogue is initiated with the offender. But if that does not succeed, there is a formal notice and a minutes is erect. Then, the prosecution can take up the case, or if this is not the case, it is sent to the sanctioning official, who can impose a fine ranging from 250 to 100,000 euros, “explains Ans Persoons.
In addition to this fine, the fraudulent owner could also pay the tax on unoccupied buildings, another means of pressure exerted by the municipality, since, as the alderman explains, illegal Airbnb homes are often second homes, or unoccupied investments, since no one is therefore domiciled there. “The amount of the tax is very high. 530 euros per meter of facade», Explains the alderman.
Whether you rent a room occasionally or throughout the year, you must indicate the income in your tax return. You must distinguish three types of income: the rental of the room, the rental of furniture and additional services (breakfast, etc.). You can do this by mentioning the subdivision between these three types of income in your rental agreement. If you don’t, which means your price includes everything, the tax authorities assume that 20% of the remuneration falls under “miscellaneous income” and the remaining 80% of the rental of the room and furniture. These 80% are further subdivided into 40% movable income and 60% real estate income.
For tourist accommodation, from 1uh February 2017, in the Brussels Region, the operator is also required to make a monthly declaration for the regional tax on tourist accommodation. The calculation of the amount of the tax is linked to the number of nights occupied by tourists. The number of overnight stays is multiplied by the basic amount of 0.0892 euro per accommodation unit. After the addition of the additional municipal centimes, the tax amounts to 4 euros per unit. The basic amount is however reduced to 0.0669 euro for home accommodation, and therefore the tax with the additional municipal centimes amounts to 3 euros per unit.