Expatica news

Up to 20,000 empty homes in Brussels

25 February 2004

BRUSSELS – There are between 15 and 20,000 apartments and homes standing empty in Brussels despite the fact that thousands of poor people in the city are looking for somewhere to live, one of the city’s leading affordable housing groups said on Wednesday.

According to Michel Renard, who works for the Brussels assembly for the right to a place to live (RBDH), property speculators are essentially to blame for the current crisis.

“Rents and house prices are rising all the time and that means 23,000 people are now looking for homes,” he said on Wednesday.

Rather than renting their properties at affordable rates, the speculators prefer to wait until entire buildings are empty before converting them into luxury flats or offices, the RBDH argues.

The association has just launched a major awareness raising campaign, which has seen activists sticking posters bearing the slogan ‘You could create three homes here’ on empty buildings across Brussels.

RBDH wants the Brussels authorities to play a more active role in ensuring buildings do not remain empty when they could be used to house people.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news