Finding a house
The Leuven region is nice to live in and that is reflected in the housing market, whether you want to rent or buy. Demand for housing is also seasonal: close to the start of the academic year, a lot of people are looking for housing at the same time. Luckily the region is very bikeable and public transport is abundantly available so the neighboring communes are equally attractive as the city centre of Leuven.
- Decide which criteria are important for you:
- Renting or buying?
- Proximity of facilities: school, public transport, shops …
- Type of accommodation: an apartment or a house with a garden, furnished or unfurnished
- How long do you want to rent?
- Budget - keep in mind that apartments usually come with additional expenses not included in the rent
- Read our blog post on Finding Permanent Housing in Leuven.
- The best way to find a flat or house is to
- search online platforms (see below)
- use your network and social media (for example dedicated Facebook groups)
- contact a real estate agency. Make the effort and make a quick phone call, it could make a world of difference! (Generally calling in English won't be problem, it never hurts to try.) You will find a list with recognized agencies on http://www.biv.be/de-vastgoedmakelaar/alle-vastgoedmakelaars-vind-je-hier (Dutch or French only)
- Consider renting short-term or temporary accommodation when you first arrive. It gives you time to explore the options, so you can make a well-informed decision for your permanent accommodation. Mind you, most short-term options are considered holiday rentals and not permanent accommodation. By consequence, the registration required to obtain a residence permit is generally not possible in these short-term accommodations.
Renting a home
- Read your rental contract carefully before signing. Use translation software if necessary or ask a pro forma English translation from the owner or estate agent. The tenants' association or Huurdersbond provides template contracts in Dutch. Machine translations are available in this blog post.
- The payment of a deposit / rental guarantee is required (generally the amount of three months’ rent).
- Proof of fire insurance is generally required before receiving the keys to a house or flat.
- When you move into the accommodation, an inventory of the fixtures and fittings has to be drawn up. More info in this article.
Buying a home
- The Flemish federation of notaries issued a comprehensive brochure, in English, called "buying property in Belgium for expats" (version from November 2020).
- A provisional sales agreement is signed between the buyer and seller and a fixed deposit is paid. This step is binding.
- After a few months, the final sale takes place: the notarial act is signed and the outstanding amount is paid. Notary fees and registration fees will also be due at this point.
- Once you are the owner of a house, you will have to pay an annual property tax.
- If you rent a house, the lessor is obliged to register the rental contract. The registration gives the contract a fixed date and becomes binding for third parties.
- August, September and October are peak months for the rental market in Leuven.
Supplier, channels and tools
- www.notaris.be/verkopen-kopen-huren-lenen (partly in English)
- On www.huurschatter.be (Dutch only) you can estimate if the rental price is a fair price.
- www.woninghuur.vlaanderen (Dutch only)
- www.zimmo.be (Dutch only)
Last update: 02/08/2022
For internationals who want to find a place to live in Leuven.