Policy memorandum on reform of the Apartment Law

Policy memorandum on reform of the Apartment Law

As discussed in previous newsflashes, Minister K. Geens has launched an ambitious plan to fundamentally reform various areas of Belgian law, including the company law, insolvency law, property law and the law of obligations. The law that applies to apartments is yet another legal domain which the Minister wishes to modernise.

A policy memorandum on this topic has now been published by the appointed working group, together with the proposed amendments of the legislation. You can find the full text of the policy memorandum here (with thanks to the CIB).

We would like to highlight a number of particular points of this policy memorandum.

In the basic deeds, project developers often reserve the right to still make certain unilateral changes to the fouding deed or the division of the (unsold) lots even after the start of the sale. Such a reservation or power of attorney is generally deemed to be invalid, so that in principle any change must be made via a general assembly. However, reservations of this kind would now be accepted as legitimate, with the following limitations and formalities:

  • Such unilateral amendments are only possible up to the provisional acceptance of the common parts,
  • Only if “such changes, prompted by technical circumstances or in the lawful interest of the co-owners association, do not affect the rights of the other co-owners over their private part and do not increase the obligations of one or several co-owners",
  • At the project developer’s expense, 
  • And subject to notification to the other co-owners of the draft of the amending articles of association, at least two months prior to the execution of the deed of amendment, so that these other co-owners can object to this change and, if they are so inclined, bring the dispute before the courts.

Internal rules (currently optional) shall henceforth become obligatory, whereby a number of the provisions that at present have to be included in the articles of association are being moved to these internal rules. This should have as a consequence that not every change of law will entail that the articles of association have to be adapted as well - something that generates notarial costs each time.

Finally, greater responsibility is being placed on the owner-lessor. It is his responsibility to inform his lessee within thirty days and by registered letter of decisions of the general meeting. The lessee currently only has a period of two months after this notification, further limited to four months after the general meeting, in order to file a possible legal objection against the decision in question.

For more information on this subject, you can always contact Ewoud Willaert and Christine Heeb.