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Compensation plan for building nuisance

Published on 02/09/2004

2 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Small businesses in Belgium are set to be compensated for inconvenience suffered due to extensive building works, it emerged on Thursday.

The minister for the middle class, Sabine Laruelle, has announced new measures to give financial help to businesses that suffer from long-running building works to their premises.

“Organisations representing independent professionals have complained for a long time that the situation must be improved,” she said.

Building work can cause particular problems for shop owners, for example, by blocking the usual routes their premises.

Currently affected businesses can launch a court action but this is expensive and can take two to three years for a verdict.

Laruelle has planned a number of steps to fill in the legal loopholes.

Firstly, she is considering whether self employed people should be granted a reduction in their social security payments if their businesses are affected by building work.

A second measure would be to pass a new law, that would allow a business to launch a compensation request as soon as building works began.

Such a piece of legislation  has already been suggested by Flemish Liberal (VLD) politician Jean-Marie Dedecker.

 In its current form, Dedecker’s draft law would grant EUR 50 for each day that the business is forced to close due to building works.

Laruelle has proposed that a small fund be set up to help communes pay this compensation.

“I am conscious that there is no miracle solution, but I hope I can put together different measures to
maximise assistance to businesses,” she said.

Laruelle is discussing the ideas with her colleagues, including one used in La Louviere where business owners who have been penalised by building work are exempted from local taxes.

 [Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news