Skip to main content
  • Other useful information
Voka Community -

International Community West Flanders

Estimate cost of living in West Flanders
Restaurants Avg. Range
One course meal, cheap  € 10 
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant  € 16 – € 22 
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course  € 50 
Beer (0,25 litre draught)  € 2,5 
Special Beer (0,33 litter bottle)  € 4,5 
Coke/Pepsi (0,25 litre bottle)  € 2.50 
Water (0,25 litre bottle)  € 2.20 
Supermarket  Avg. Range
Milk (regular), 1 litre  € 0.70 
Loaf of Fresh Bread (small)  € 1.70
Eggs (12)  € 2.50 
Toilet paper (3 l 180 v) € 2.50
Sparkling water (1.5 litre bottle)  € 0.40
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)  € 6 
Transportation  Avg. Range
Taxi (5 km within centre)  € 15 
Gasoline (1 litre)  € 1.40 
Diesel (1litre)  € 1.40 
Utilities (Monthly)  Avg. Range
Basic (Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage)  € 250 
Sports And Leisure  Avg. Range
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult (Basic Fit)  From € 19.99 
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat (Kinepolis)  € 11.50 
Rent Per Month  Avg. Range
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre/Outside of Centre  € 600 / € 500 
Apartment (2 bedrooms) in City Centre/Outside of Centre  € 800 / € 750 

 

 

Renting a property

If you are planning on staying in Belgium for less than five years, it is recommended to rent instead of buying a home. Here are many ways to find a property to rent in Belgium. The following tips can help you a lot with finding the right place:

  • Ask friends, relatives and acquaintances to look out for suitable accommodation.
  • Look at advertisements in local newspapers (including free ones) and magazines.
  • Visit accommodation and letting agents. It’s often better to deal with an agent than directly with owners, particularly regarding contracts and legal matters.
  • Look at advertisements in shop windows and on notice boards in shopping centres, supermarkets, universities and colleges and company offices.
  • Walk through neighbourhoods you think you might like to live in and look à louer/te huur signs on suitable properties.

General information:

In order to rent accommodation in Belgium, a lease is a legal requirement. Also, landlords generally require a rent guarantee by way of security deposit. The amount can be equal to three months’ rent, to be put up immediately in a blocked rental deposit when the lease is signed. Its main purpose is to cover any damage a tenant may cause to the property rented or any non-fulfilment on the part of the tenant of such obligations as paying the rent and/or the charges (water, electricity, etc.).

Charges normally borne by the tenant include gas, electricity, heating oil, water, local taxes (including garbage collection), chimney sweeping, servicing of heating installation (and water softener if fitted) and gardening. The property tax is the responsibility of the landlord.

How do I sign a lease?

Once you have found a house/room/apartment that you like, you have to sign a lease. This is an agreement between the tenant and the landlord which stipulates the duties and the rights of both parties. This can be in writing or orally. Since it is very difficult to prove something that has been agreed orally, it is better to have everything down in writing and to have this signed by both parties. This document will be your only proof in case of difficulties.

What does a lease have to contain?

  • Name and address of the landlord
  • Name of the tenant
  • Address of the house
  • Duration of the contract
  • The type of residence (studio, house, etc.)
  • Furnished or not furnished
  • Amount of the rent and deposit
  • Fire insurance

Detailed description (staat van het huis/état des lieux):

In order to ensure a fair evaluation of damage versus normal ‘wear and tear’ during a tenancy, and thereby recover a fair proportion of your security deposit, it is very important to get a detailed description of the condition of the property (building and garden) at the beginning and the end of the lease term.

The rule is “no guarantee – no key”. To avoid disputes over damages caused, during the tenancy, and any subsequent withholding of the deposit by the landlord, it is important to mutually agree on the condition of the property before and after occupation. The deposit may not be used to pay the last months of rent.

This can be done by way of a simple written agreement signed and dated by landlord and tenant or more formally by a property surveyor (expert). He will inspect the premises thoroughly and submit a report. This service costs about 250 euros. You then normally have one month to add any other damages missed in the surveyor’s report.

Registration

You can register the lease at the Ministry of Finance tax office of the commune where the property is located. Registration is in the interest of the tenant because if the property is sold, the new owner cannot expel the tenant.

You must register your rental contract at the government office in order for it to be supported by Belgian law. You just need to take a photocopy of your contract. The registration is free of charge.

More information about the fire insurance:

The tenant is obliged to take a fire insurance. This is also stipulated in the contract. You can take out this insurance at any insurance company. In case of fire, the company will pay the damages of the residence or part of it. This insurance is paid each year and the amount depends on the surface of the space and the value of the furniture. It is also advisable to insure yourself against breaking of glass, water-damage, storm, etc. Furthermore, most of the houses and apartments are unfurnished, whereas studios and rooms for rent are often furnished.

Tenants' association to give advice about rental contracts and issues:

Huurdersbond West-Vlaanderen

Website: www.huurdersbond.be

E-mail: huurdersbond.westvlaanderen@yucom.be

To make an appeal to the tenants’ association, you have to be a member. A one-year membership costs € 12. In exchange for this membership fee, you will be able to make unlimited use of the association’s services. Pay at your first visit, following which you will receive a proof of registration, together with a member number that you have to provide when visiting them. Be sure to bring your rental contract, as well as any correspondence to and from the landlord.

General Websites for house purchases/renting:

Childcare

If you want to register for child care, make sure you register as soon as possible: there may be (long) waiting lists, particularly for babies. In other words: do not wait to register until your child is born.

You can use child care for children between the age of 8 months and 3 years. Children sometimes stay at home with their parents or grandparents take care of them; however, most Belgian children attend child care.

If you are looking for day care service for young children (under the age of 3), you may contact the agencies listed below:

  • OCMW
  • Kind & Gezin

Kind & Gezin (Child & Family) is a Flemish governmental agency responsible for young children and families in Flanders. www.kindengezin.be

Banking

Having a Belgian bank account can be very useful for renting a house, paying for utilities, online shopping, going out…

There are a lot of different banks, each with different services and fees. To open a banking account you’ll need:

  • Your national insurance number
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of income
  • Residence permit

Some of the larger banks can provide you statements in English, if you request it.

If you are here on a temporary basis with your or your partner's work, then many of the banks here will offer expat services and even special expat accounts. However, the local branches are not always aware of this. Ask them to check with the Brussels office.

Banks are usually open from 09:00 to 16:00 from Monday to Friday. Some banks do open Saturday morning and/or stay open for a longer period on Thursdays.

Getting a Belgian phone number
Country code: +32/       international call prefix: 00/ 

A telephone number in Belgium is a sequence of nine or ten digits dialled on a telephone to make a call on the Belgian telephone network. Belgium is under a closed telephone numbering plan.

All Belgian telephone numbers dialled within Belgium must use the leading ‘0’ trunk code. Beside the leading ‘0’, area codes in Belgium are, excluding the leading '0', one or two digits long. As a result, numbers are of variable length; landlines with a one-digit area code have a seven-digit subscriber number, while smaller cities with a two-digit area code have a six-digit subscriber number. Area codes are separated from the subscriber number by a slash.

Mobile/GSM area codes always begin with 04xx and the subscriber number is six digits long. The most popular networks include Orange, Proximus, Base, and Telenet. SIM cards and other communications packages can be purchased online on the network website or in some supermarkets and bookshops.

www.proximus.be

www.orange.be

www.base.be

www.mobilevikings.com

www.telenet.be

Getting an internet and/or tv subscription

Usually you can get an internet package that has to be paid monthly. If you want to get a package you will need to have:

 your ID or passport

 proof of address in Belgium (bills, rental contract or bank statement)

 a bank account or International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

After you have chosen which internet provider you want, you can either set up the internet yourself or you can ask an employer from the provider to set it up at your home for free.

www.proximus.be

www.telenet.be

www.scarlet.be

www.orange.be

If you are planning to subscribe for phone, TV and/or internet, you should check out the several combo deals.

Leisure

Despite being a a small country with only 11 million inhabitants, Belgium has one of the biggest music festival cultures in the world.

For Belgians, beer is a part of everyday life. It plays such a big role in Belgium culture that in 2016, it was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. So, if you are soon to be an expat in Belgium, you better brush up on your Belgian beer knowledge.

You can subscribe to www.groupon.be, choose your city, and receive daily deals for restaurants, cultural events, gadgets, etc. in your mailbox.

To find a restaurant of your liking, you can visit the website www.resto.be.

The most popular and biggest cinema group is called Kinepolis. More info can be found on www.kinepolis.be.

More information: https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/tourism

Haven't found what you were looking for? You can always contact Davy Maes (davy.maes@voka.be) for further help!

Contactpersoon

Davy Maes

Kennis & advies/Menselijk kapitaal

Accent
ING
Proximus
SD  Worx
CRM Group