To fight against vacant housing, Wallonia (Belgium) has decided to take action by deploying a series of measures. As detailed The evening, from September 1, 2022, leaving an apartment empty, when many families are unable to find accommodation, will be considered an offence. “Keeping a building or part of a building intended for housing unoccupied will henceforth constitute an offence”, clarified Christophe Collignon (PS), the Minister of Housing.

To detect these vacant dwellings, the regional government will call on the managers of the water and electricity distribution networks. The latter will be able to send back to the municipalities the accommodation identified as “suspicious”. Will be considered as presumed unoccupied, apartments or houses with a water consumption of less than 15 cubic meters per year or electricity consumption of less than 100 kilowatt hours per year.

Legal action may be taken against recalcitrant owners. From September, a judge of the court of first instance “may order any useful measure to ensure occupation within a reasonable time, at the request of the administrative authorities, but also of an approved association”, specifies the Walloon government on his website. In addition, the latter set the amount of the administrative fine “between 500 and 12,500 euros per dwelling per period of 12 months without interruption of established vacancy of at least three months”.

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