Moving to Brussels for a short time? Serviced apartments offer flexible leases, provide you with furniture, and spare you some moving hassle.
Home to EU bureaucrats, world-famous chocolate, and a small statue of a peeing boy, it’s undeniable that Brussels has character. Although property prices in the capital are the highest in the country, they’re still significantly cheaper than in London or Paris.
While slightly more affordable rent is a good reason to move to Brussels, it can still be challenging to feel at home when moving abroad. In addition, if you’re only staying for a few months, settling in can be even trickier. One way to feel immediately at home is by renting a serviced, furnished apartment in Brussels. These rentals offer furniture and many other amenities.
Find out how to find one, what costs you should account for, and other important information. Get to grips with:
- Hotels vs. serviced apartments in Brussels
- Using an agent to find furnished apartments in Brussels
- Getting a serviced apartment in Brussels: the process
- Renting serviced apartments in Brussels: key services
- Tenant responsibilities for serviced apartments in Brussels
- Moving to Brussels: how to feel at home
- Making the most of your sponsor in Brussels
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Hotels vs. serviced apartments in Brussels
Brussels is an expat-friendly city – as well as its global institutions, around a third of the city’s residents come from outside Belgium. Many of these are staying in the country temporarily. If you’re only moving to Belgium for a short period of time, you might consider staying in a hotel. For many expats, however, hotel life can be a lonely experience. This is where serviced apartments bridge the gap for short-stay or medium-term expats in Brussels.
Serviced apartments in Brussels offer a cozier environment and more privacy than a hotel. The majority of serviced apartments are fully furnished, so expats can move right in; some allow plenty of flexibility when it comes to rental terms.
One of the main benefits of serviced properties is that they’re straightforward to organize. Apartments should come furnished, with a ready-to-use kitchen, and plenty of amenities. These could include cable television, high-speed Wi-Fi, and security systems. In addition, many provide services such as cleaning, tech support, and even concierge services. Rather than spending your time furniture shopping, you’ll be able to get stuck into life in the Belgian capital, discovering all the best things to do in Brussels.
Using an agent to find furnished apartments in Brussels
Rather than dealing with property portals, you can employ a specialist estate agency to find a short-stay apartment. Indeed, many companies already work with relocation agents to ensure a smooth transition for their staff when arriving in Belgium.
Specialist agencies also offer a less stringent style of renting – some let properties for as little as a month, allowing you to extend your stay with a couple of weeks’ notice. Others will allow you to automatically renew your tenancy on a monthly basis if you’re uncertain of how long you’ll be staying. It’s worth shopping around to find an agency that specializes in these types of short-term, flexible options.
The companies listed below provide short- and medium-term furnished rental services in Brussels:
Getting a serviced apartment in Brussels: the process
Your first step when looking for a serviced apartment is to decide on where you want to live in the city, whether that’s the sought-after Schaerbeek, bustling Saint-Gilles, or somewhere else. If you use an agent, you or your company will then inquire about properties in your chosen area. The agent will then send you a proposal with suggested apartments. Bear in mind that some of these have minimum stay requirements, so check these before organizing a viewing.
If one of these properties suits you, you may have to move quickly to sign a contract. Generally, you’ll need to provide your passport or ID and proof of employment or income. Deposits are usually the sum of one month’s rent, plus a one-time payment in advance. This covers a final professional cleaning of the property when you move out.
Renting serviced apartments in Brussels: key services
As part of your package, you should be offered a cleaning service either weekly or bi-weekly. You should also be fully covered for any maintenance issues that occur with the apartment. Any issues can be raised with your agent, who should send a handyman out as soon as possible.
High-speed internet is a given in these apartment blocks; you should also have access to cable television. Once you’ve moved in, your agent may provide you with an online login to manage details of your property, including your contracts and any requests for maintenance.
Tenant responsibilities for serviced apartments in Brussels
When renting in Brussels, you’ll need to insure your belongings, as these won’t be covered by your landlord’s policy. It’s almost certain that you won’t be able to sub-let your apartment during your stay, and some accommodation may have rules about when visitors can stay. In addition, it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed pets, and smoking will almost definitely be prohibited.
The landlord is usually responsible for carrying out repairs, so if you notice damage in your apartment, report it immediately. If you damage something in your apartment, bear in mind that you might be liable for the cost required to fix it. Your contract should specify any rules and regulations, including the notice period required when you wish to leave the apartment.
Moving to Brussels: how to feel at home
Moving to a new country can be a complicated time in your career, but it represents a great opportunity to expand your professional and personal horizons. One of the most helpful things to do is to try and create a familiar atmosphere in your new apartment.
There are several ways of doing this – bring small important items with you that will fit in your luggage. The fact that your apartment will be furnished means more room for personal items. Check your contract to find out what decorations you can put up in your apartment – although you probably won’t be able to put up posters or pictures on the wall, it’s unlikely anyone will stop you from standing a photo frame on a shelf or desk. Some buildings might also have communal areas such as gardens, where you can meet your neighbors.
Making the most of your sponsor in Brussels
When you move to a new country, your company will often pair you up with a sponsor who is based locally. They are often experienced expats who are able to understand questions about moving to a new city and can help you to get over the culture shock.
Finally, try your best to embrace your situation and make the most of the opportunities by joining the expat community in Brussels. This is especially helpful if you don’t speak one of Belgium’s languages. Fellow expats may run groups or host regular meetups in the city where you can get together and chat about how you’re adapting to your new country.