One in five Belgians cannot afford sky-rocket rents

30th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

People with lower income are finding it increasingly hard to pay for housing as scarce rental properties pushed up rental prices.

30 June 2008

BELGIUM – One in five Belgians finds it difficult to pay for housing, reveals a survey conducted by Antwerp University.

Tenants are having an increasingly difficult time finding property to rent. More people have bought residences over recent years, making rental properties more scarce and hence, more expensive.

The demand for rental property has increased sharply, largely due to an increase in the number of single people looking to rent in the cities.

More people are unable to pay their rent- the majority of renters on the private market, according to Professor Luc Goossens who headed the survey.

"If we add the people who have a problem paying their mortgages, in total: one out of five Belgians has problems."

"The situation will get even worse due to the rising cost of energy. By the end of the year, it will become a really serious problem, "says Professor Goossens.

"Give renters subsidies"
The renters' unions confirm that more people cannot pay the rising costs of rentals. Bailiffs say that they have to evict an increasing number of people from their homes.

Patrick Van Buggenhout of the National Board of Bailiffs says: "It is difficult to say exactly how many dossiers there are- but in any case, there is an enormous increase. For every dossier we had to deal with before, we have three now."

Professor Goossens, a housing expert, says there is a shortage of welfare housing in Belgium and he is calling on the authorities to provide subsidies for the poorest renters.

He also advocates linking rental prices to the quality of the properties on offer.

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