Flemish government puts stricter conditions on social housing

Unemployed people in Flanders will have a harder time finding social housing and people in social housing will have to prove their eligibility every nine years, Housing minister Matthias Diependaele has announced.

Belgian residents are generally well protected by the system of social security. Low-cost social housing, however, is traditionally a problem, mainly due to the lack of properties.

In recent years, Diependaele, of Flemish nationalists N-VA, has introduced additional conditions on social tenants. A new package of conditions will enter into force on 1 January 2025.

Priority will be given to people in work. Only about half of the social tenants who are able to work have a job. Rent is based on a tenant's income of the tenant. If a tenant finds work, their income increases, causing the rent to go up.

Diependaele will also limit the duration of contracts to nine years, after which the conditions will be checked again to see if the person still has a right to social housing. People who choose to rent on the private market will get a financial stimulus of up to 2,500 euros.

Social workers have objected to the measures and say they limit the number of possible tenants instead of increasing the number of houses. Last year, 176,000 people were on the waiting list for social housing. The average waiting time is four years. Only a third of the budget for building and renovating social houses was used in Flanders in 2022.


#FlandersNewsService | Matthias Diependaele © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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