New Decree Amends Rules on Student Rentals in the Walloon Region

The decree of 19 May 2023, amending the decree of 15 March 2018, concerning residential lease agreements (the “Decree“), which came into effect on 1 June 2023, modifies the rules for student rentals in the Walloon Residential Lease Decree.

The Walloon Housing Rental Decree provides specific provisions for the rental of student accommodations (“student rentals“), which includes mandatory provisions that fall outside the scope of residential leases pertaining to the tenant’s main residence. Student rentals apply to students who are enrolled and pursuing studies at a secondary or higher education institution.

The Decree introduces four amendments to the Walloon Housing Rental Decree:

1. Elimination of penalty for late proof of student status

Starting from 1 June 2023, the deadline for the student to provide proof of their student status is extended from three months to six months.

Previously, the student-tenant was penalized if they could not timely provide evidence of enrollment in secondary or higher education institution, resulting in the student rental no longer applying and the lease falling under the common rules for residential rentals. This is no longer the case. If proof of student status is provided late, the student rental agreement will still fall under the provisions of student rentals.


2. Invalidity of contractual clauses excluding establishment of main residence for students

The Walloon Housing Rental Decree allows the parties to declare the provisions of residential leases regarding the tenant’s main residence applicable to the student rental agreement.

Starting from 1 June 2023, the contractual provision that a student-tenant may not establish their main residence in the student accommodation is only permitted under the condition that:

  • the landlord has a valid justification, for instance, by referring to the natural purpose of the property; and
  • the landlord specifies the actual main residence of the student-tenant in the student rental agreement.

If the landlord fails to meet these conditions, the clause prohibiting the student-tenant from establishing their main residence in the accommodation will be invalid, allowing the student-tenant to establish their main residence there, and the rules for residential rentals regarding the tenant’s main residence will apply.


3. Student rental agreement ends automatically without notice

The student rental agreement is concluded for a maximum duration of one year and ends automatically at the expiration of the term without requiring notice to be given.

If, at the end of the lease, the student-tenant continues to reside in the student accommodation without objection from the landlord, the student rental agreement will be silently renewed under the same terms for one year.

If the initial student rental agreement was concluded for a duration of less than one year and the student-tenant continues to reside in the accommodation at the end of that period without objection from the landlord, the lease will be deemed to have been concluded for one year.


4. Security deposit equal to two months’ rent

Previously, the Walloon Housing Rental Decree did not provide for a security deposit in the context of student rentals. The Decree now allows the landlord to demand a security deposit from the student-tenant. The security deposit may not exceed two months’ rent.

In the case of residential rentals outside the scope of student rentals, the security deposit is in any case limited to two months’ rent, regardless of the form of the security deposit.

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