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Renting out your apartment via Airbnb: allowed or prohibited?

8 March 2019

The sharing economy is booming and extends to cars, bicycles, domestic appliances and even apartments.

Airbnb and other rental platforms for private accommodation are more popular than ever. The platform is well-known, particularly in big cities like Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp but also on the coast.

You can rent a room, apartment or house for one or more days online via this type of platform. So that means owners are temporarily making their home (house or apartment) available to tourists.

There are a lot of grey areas and questions surrounding the concept of Airbnb. One of the key questions is: is it permitted in a co-owned apartment building?

Co-owners are not always happy if an apartment in their building is rented out for short periods via Airbnb due to the noise nuisance or feeling of insecurity that can arise as a result of strangers having access to the building day and night, for example.

It is therefore important to check the articles of association of the co-owned property in order to find out whether or not it is allowed. In principle, if the articles of association make no mention of a ban on the commercial subletting of an apartment or of short-term rental, it is permitted. But due to the increase in popularity of the platform, more and more Associations of Co-Owners (ACOs) are adjusting the articles of association in order to prohibit rentals via Airbnb or similar websites.

Since 1 April 2017, the new Flemish Accommodation Decree has also been in force which states that in Flanders, people may only be charged for overnight accommodation if the apartment complies with a number of basic standards relating to fire safety and housing quality.

“Think first, act later” definitely applies here:

  • Does your apartment comply with all the provisions in the Flemish Accommodation Decree?
  • What do the articles of association or the rules on internal order stipulate?
  • How will the other co-owners react?

It goes without saying that it will put pressure on your relationship with the other co-owners. For they will often regard temporary tenants as intruders who cause (noise) nuisance, create a feeling of insecurity and show no respect for the cleanliness and tidiness of communal areas. Opinions which often fuel lively discussions at the annual meeting…

 

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