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City of Brussels to offer one-off discounts to renting tenants

06:06 27/06/2022

The City of Brussels, which owns more than 3,500 homes, has decided to reimburse tenants the proportion of their rent that exceeds the indexation of 5%, Bruzz reports.

The city is a major player in the rental market with around 3,000 public housing units, not counting social housing. It's now taken a stand in the debate that has been raging for several weeks over rent indexation, which has increased due to inflation. While the current rate stands at 8%, the Socialist Party in the regional government wants to cap the index for the region at 2%.

Alderman for housing Lydia Mutyebele and Brussels mayor Philippe Close have jointly announced that the City of Brussels will compensate for indexation above 5% of the total rent increase "and we encourage private landlords to do the same,” said Mutyebele. “This is how we fight against gentrification, to keep the middle clasess in the centre of the city."

In concrete terms, the indexation will still be passed on to the tenants, but the tenants will receive a one-off discount at the end of the year. In total, the City of Brussels expects that it will lose around €723,000 as a result. The ‎Public Centre for Social Action ‎(CPAS) of the City of Brussels, which also rents out lots of homes, is considering a similar measure. If the capping of the rent index for the entire region is approved at 2% before the end of the year as the Socialists hope, then the discount will be scrapped.

The Tenants' Union considers the decision of the City of Brussels to be a positive signal, although it says more action is needed. "Why is the discount only granted from 5% and not from 2%, as the tenants' associations ask?" said José Garcia of the Tenants' Union.

"We also hope that this courageous and essential decision for Brussels tenants will serve as an example for the regional government, which is still hesitant to take this socially just measure," Garcia adds.

Written by Nick Amies