‘Revolutionary’ move to limit rent rises
20 January 2006
BRUSSELS — Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx is in a revolutionary mood: she wants to slow the increase in housing rents and is expected to lodge her proposal with the Cabinet at its weekly meeting on Friday.
Onkelinx said the federal government is legally allowed to impose a maximum rental price if a commission of owners and tenants determines that prices are higher than average in a given region.
However, rents may still be indexed to the rate of inflation, French-language newspaper ‘La Dernière Heure’ reported on Friday.
“It is a revolution, but it is necessary,” the Socialist PS minister stressed.
Onkelinx citied figures from the Statistics and Economic Information bureau that indicate 50 percent of Wallonian and Brussels residents pay 40 percent of their income on rent.
“These families have no choice, in order to pay their housing costs they need to save on healthcare and food. That is a serious problem,” she said.
A similar measure was introduced in France several years ago, Flemish public broadcaster VRT reported.
A central fund will now be established for rental bonds that will gather the bonds together and distribute loans. It will also become compulsory for rental prices to be mentioned in advertisements.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news