Lease: real estate advertising and planning information

The provisions of the Brussels Code of Planning ("CoBAT/BWRO") relating to real estate advertising and planning information were modified by the ordinances of 3 April and 8 May 2014.

In particular, Article 281 of the CoBAT/BWRO provides that "any person who, on their own behalf or as an agent, sells, leases or transfers long leases or building rights must indicate unequivocally in the related advertising the latest and accurate lawful planning purposes of the property, using the terms provided in the various land plans [...] and all the planning information".

This new provision has given rise to great concern among real estate agents and private owners wishing to rent their property, given that non-compliance is subject to severe criminal and administrative penalties. Also, municipal authorities that deliver the information in question have up to 30 days to provide this requested information. Hence, there is fear that the new obligation would significantly slow down property transactions.

The Minister-President of Brussels has finally clarified that the new requirement only applies to leases of more than nine years. The new Article 281 should in fact be read as an extension of Article 280 of CoBAT/BWRO, which only applies to leases of more than nine years.

This clarification has the merit of reassuring the real estate rental market. On the other hand, the Minister-President has not clarified what is meant by "lawful" planning purposes]. This formulation is surprising and it is still unclear how real estate advertising could contain "unlawful" information.