Renting a property in Luxembourg and tenant rights
Find out where to find accommodation to rent in Luxembourg, plus details on your rental contract, deposit, cost of renting in Luxembourg and rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Most foreigners moving to Luxembourg initially opt to rent accomodation, and the majority of housing supply in Luxembourg is apartment accommodation. There are also many serviced aparthotels and hotels in Luxembourg for short-term stays. However, with Luxembourg sharing borders with Belgium, France and Germany, many foreigners choose to become cross-border commuters, where they live outside but work in Luxembourg. In some cases, it may be possible to find cheaper accommodation to rent in Belgium, France or Germany. This guide explains what you need to know about renting in Luxembourg.
Should you rent or buy property in Luxembourg?
With increasing numbers of European workers in Luxembourg, it can be difficult to find affordable property to rent. While more than two-thirds of Luxembourg's residents own their own homes, around half of all foreigners working in the country rent accommodation. Properties can be hard to find and it’s rare to see ‘for sale’ or ‘to let’ signs outside houses.
Alongside a skilled international labour force and growing population (around 576,000 in 2016), house prices have increased in recent years, especially in the capital city, although prices tend to be lower in the surrounding towns and in the northern and southern parts of the country. Average monthly rents in Luxembourg City range from around EUR 1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment to EUR 2,300 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre, and slightly less outside the city centre.
Those who are considering a longer stay might consider buying property in Luxembourg, although renting is typically advised first to know the area. At the end of 2015, property prices averaged around EUR 400,719, or EUR 5,130 per square metre and showed signs of steady rises.
It's important to know, however, that if you sell a property within two years of purchase, you’ll need to pay a form of capital gains tax, which is charged at standard income tax rates. Tax is payable on any financial gains from the property minus your selling costs (such as estate agent fees). If you have the property for more than two years before selling, you’ll only have to pay tax at half of the standard rate. Those with investment plans of longer than at least three to five years might be able to recuperate transaction costs and reduce profit taxes.
Find a property to rent in Luxembourg
A significant proportion of Luxembourg’s population are foreign workers from around the EU area living alone or in shared accommodation, thus the housing supply tends to include more apartments than family houses. Rental apartments were the most popular type of home listed at the end of 2015, with around 2,800 apartments on the market compared to just 350 houses. The government publishes housing figures every quarter at observatoire de ‘l’habitat.
Most properties in Luxembourg are let unfurnished, although there are specialised companies that offer furnished properties. If you move in to a furnished property, your landlord should arrange an inventory report (etat des lieux) to list the condition of the fixtures and fittings. Typically, furnished properties shouldn't be more than double the cost of the equivalent unfurnished ones.
In Luxembourg capital, most homeowners rent their property via estate agents, and homes to rent can be found on property portals, at agency websites and in local newspapers, such as Luxemburger Wort, Tageblatt, Lux Post, Le Quotidien, Lux-Bazar.
Online property portals
If you’re looking for a flat share in Luxembourg, www.appartager.lu lists advertisements (including photos) posted by people offering or searching for a room in apartments and houses.
Another option is to use a relocation agency, which provides a personalised service to help newcomers find housing and deal with the formalities of settling in a new country. You can find details about relocation agencies at editus.lu
Documents for signing your Luxembourg rental contract
Once you have found a rental property, you’ll need to sign a lease or rental contract (contrat de bail à loyer/Mietvertrag). Take along a translator if you want to confirm details and aren't yet fluent in a local language (French, German and Luxembourgish).
Normally, you will sign a rental contract for a fixed term, which is agreed between you and your landlord. If you an apartment in a building, you may be required to contribute to common charges such as concierge wages, maintenance and shared utilities.
Before agreeing to let a property, the landlord will usually require proof of your identification and right to work in the country, your employment status, income level, and in some cases references from a previous landlord.
Understanding your Luxembourg tenancy agreement
Your lease should cover several key points, including the term of the agreement, the rent costs and when they must be paid, any shared costs such as utilities, details about how the lease can be terminated, and the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant. The landlord must also provide an energy performance certificate alongside the tenancy agreement. You can view an example of a standard tenancy agreement (in French) here.
Costs of renting a home in Luxembourg
The cost of renting in Luxembourg averages around EUR 876 per month for a studio flat, EUR 1,400 per month for a two-bedroom apartment and EUR 2,500 per month for a four-bedroom house, according to government statistics.
Renters in Luxembourg also need to pay a deposit upfront, usually around two months' rent (but sometimes up to a maximum of three months), when signing their agreement and pay annual liability insurance of around EUR 250.
When paying a rental deposit, it’s common to transfer your deposit (or rent guarantee) into a special bank account for the duration of the lease. This escrow account held by the bank typically means the money cannot be touched until both parties agree. This landlord can request to keep some or all of your deposit if you break your contract or damage the property. If you don’t have the funds to pay, you can attempt to seek financial assistance from the state.
Moving in and out: the inventory and giving notice
Signing the inventory
The inventory (etat des lieux) process takes place before the tenant officially takes possession of the house. It involves the landlord and tenant establishing the condition of the property and is dated and signed by both parties.
It can either be part of the tenancy agreement or a separate document. If no inventory has been undertaken the tenant is presumed to have received the home in good condition, although the landlord will not be able to reclaim the tenant’s deposit for damages if no inventory was undertaken.
While inventories are generally drawn up jointly by the landlord and tenant to avoid the costs of employing a third party, it can be prepared by a registered independent party if required.
To terminate your lease, you’ll generally need to do this with three months notice, unless otherwise stated in your contract. The landlord, meanwhile, must also respect the notice period, provided you have not broken your tenancy agreement.
If you need to move out before the end of the contract term, it’s often possible to negotiate this with the landlord by finding a new tenant for the property yourself. By doing this, the owner can avoid agency fees.
You’re entitled to reclaim your deposit once you have completed the inventory process and returned the keys, and you should also be given an annual statement of expenses for fees such as shared utilities or other costs. If there is an issue with your deposit return, you can speed the process up by sending a formal letter demanding the return of the deposit within a set time, or by taking legal action if absolutely necessary.
Tenant rights in Luxembourg
The renting system in Luxembourg is strongly pro-tenant. Landlords can increase the rent every other year based on an index published in the Official Gazette (Memorial – Journal Officiel du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg). They can also review the rent if the value of the property changes (for example, due to renovation work). If the home is formally classed as a luxury property (propriete de luxe) then rent increases don’t need to follow the rules stated in the index, and are instead agreed between the landlord and tenant.
Tenants are expected to return the property in the same condition in which it was received, though damage considered to be caused by general wear and tear or normal use shouldn’t affect your deposit.
There are bodies in place to deal with disagreements between landlords and tenants, preventing the need for parties to go to court unless in extreme circumstances. If your landlord attempts to increase your rent and you can’t reach an agreement, the landlord can apply for a rent increase via the Rent Board of his town, and you, in turn, can ask for a rent reduction.
Housing benefits and assistance
The Luxembourg Housing Fund provides rental housing for applicants with low incomes throughout the country, with applications classified by priority. To apply for the Rental Housing Fund, you can’t already own a property or have a tenancy agreement in another home. If successful your rent subsidy will be calculated based on your annual disposable household income and the amount of habitable space your property has.
People on low incomes can also apply to rent a property for up to three-years through a Social Estate Agency (ISA). To apply for housing through ISA you must go through social services, with a social worker completing the application for you.
Housing terms (French – German):
- rent: loyer – vermietung
- buy: acheter – kaufen
- estate agent: immobilier – makler
- lease: bail – mietvertrag
- deposit: caution – kaution
- mortgage: hypothèque – hypothek
- commute: commuter – pendeln
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