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What the law says

Article 23 of the Belgian Constitution (1831) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) list access to housing for all as one of the most fundamental rights. This should be one of the main priorities and concerns of the various public authorities, especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult - if not impossible - to find reasonably priced accommodation in the major cities. In recent years, shared accommodation has become a new way of looking at housing, and has gone from being a temporary solution to a permanent one.

It's the real possibility for everyone to find a place to live...

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The largest item of household expenditure

The biggest item of expenditure for Belgian households is still housing, and the fuel needed to heat and light it.

In 2018, it represented 30% of revenues*, and over time, this item continues to rise (31% in 2020), with official statistics not yet showing more recent figures taking into account the recent spike in energy costs (2022).

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*Housing plays an increasingly important role in household budgets
Statbel.fgov.be
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Housing sectors

There are two aspects to the housing sector: buying and renting.

Coloc-Actions has identified four key points where pressures on the acquisition market :

  1. Property prices have risen sharply not only in the Brussels region but throughout the country (Property prices have risen by more than 30% in ten years in Brussels, according to Immoweb - BX1).
    1. Increase in mortgage interest rates. They are hovering around 4%, with differences in terms and conditions depending on the term of the loan and the amount borrowed... whereas just a few months ago we were talking about 1%.

    2. In addition, all banks now require private individuals wishing to buy a property to provide their own funds. (approximately 10% plus notary fees), plus the limited increase in purchasing power... is slowing down home ownership. (Federal Planning Bureau - Publication - Economic Budget - September 2022-2023 Economic Forecasts).

    3. The high energy requirements imposed by the authorities on the insulation of homes are having an impact on the value of properties coming onto the market, and on their inevitable renovation (and the explosion in the cost of goods)... which is a new obstacle to home ownership for many people.

    As we have just explained, we see all too regularly that more and more people are unable to or can no longer buy their own home. They are therefore forced to stay longer on the rental or shared-occupancy market in the hope of building up sufficient savings to one day become a homeowner.

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    Pressures on the rental market

    Coloc-Actions also highlights four key points where pressures on the rental market :

    1. The purchasing power of Belgian families is falling as a result of successive crises (since March 2020: health, social, financial, environmental, climatic, and perhaps soon banking).

    2. Inflation has risen sharply, directly affecting people's lives and the health of their wallets. For February 2023, the inflation rate compared with the same month of the previous year was 6.6 %. (taken from the website : Inflation rate in Belgium).
      1. Belgian rents have been rising sharply in recent months, reaching the 8,05% in January 2023, compared with 2.0% in 2021 and 0.99% in 2020.
        In fact, just like the indexation of wages and social benefits, rent indexation is based on the health index. This index has been used in Belgium since January 1994. It is deducted from the consumer price index (taken from the Everything you need to know about rent indexation in 2023 | Smovin).

      2. Finally, it has not escaped anyone's attention that the cost of energy supplies (gas and electricity) for housing has rocketed in recent months, once again strangling families and individuals.

      It is easy to deduce from the above that more and more people can no longer afford the cost of renting their own accommodation, so they are turning to shared accommodation.

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      Cohabitant status

      Furthermore, at Coloc-Actions, we have observed in the field that the status of cohabitant is a major obstacle to budget savings for most welfare recipients, who suffer a double penalty (report of our participation in the morning's reflection in the Senate entitled "Memorandum from the service for combating poverty, precariousness and social exclusion: recognising, supporting and encouraging cohabitation", 2018).

      A precarious public, but one that is punished by the application of an unfavourable status, it is its purchasing power that is affected if it decides to reduce its housing costs by aiming for the following flatsharing. And in practice, this means that in our society, people are not treated in the same way if they decide to become flatmates, because of this disparity between single and cohabitants.

      The public authorities have a responsibility to remedy this situation and to Coloc-Actions has already come up with a number of innovative solutions for all the groups concerned.

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      About sharing

      Shared accommodation is the oldest and most widespread form of shared living.

      Today, this represents at least 20% of the population of certain major cities. The figure for the whole of Belgium is around 17 %, according to a study carried out in 2021 by the ASBL Samen Huis (https://www.metrotime.be/fr/en-vrai/le-choix-de-la-colocation-pour-faire-face-linflation).
      This indicates a clear trend towards an increase in this type of solution.

      At Coloc-Actions, we want to help regulate the world of shared accommodation and enable the public authorities to identify the people they need to talk to, so that we can better work together to develop responses that meet the expectations and needs of the public and shared-accommodation operators (see our vision).

      In addition, we are keen to make reference to organisations such as RBDH, the Rassemblement Bruxellois pour le Droit à l'Habitat, and FéBUL, the Fédération Bruxelloise Unie pour le Logement, which have a mandate to represent the various operators in a dignified manner to the public authorities. We also plan to work regularly with associations active in Habitat Partagé and Habitat Solidaire...

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      Coloc-Actions, building tomorrow's world together

      The number of people receiving the social integration income (RIS) or its equivalent as part of social assistance (ERIS) in the Brussels-Capital Region is significant. In 2021, the latest published figures indicate that 48,486 people will receive assistance(Public social welfare centres (CPAS) | IBSA), and so the pressure already seen on the shared-rental market is increasing even further.

      Our ASBL was created on World Human Solidarity Day. of the United Nations, 20 December 2016 (see our mission).

      If we are to succeed in our mission to provide not only housing for all, but also adapted housing that can combine housing, work and well-being, we need to create a fruitful synergy between all the players involved: the flatmates, owners, associations, companiesAnd you, the public authorities ... which we, Coloc-Actions, propose to facilitate.

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      Public authorities, key agents of change

      You, the public authorities, are also owners property (social housing, building and land management, AIS, shelters, rest and care homes, collective housing, transit accommodation, etc.) and as such, you can open up your accommodation to shared tenancy (why choose shared accommodation, 10 arguments for landlords) - or entrust their management to us if you cannot manage them in-house.

      You can use Coloc-Actions as an alternative to empty accommodation or precarious occupation agreements. (why choose us us Coloc-Actions -10 arguments for landlords). And if your users need convincing : why choose us us Coloc-Actions -10 arguments for flatmates).

      Opening up to shared accommodation will also enable us to meet the public authorities' objectives of increasing population density (avoiding urban sprawl, bringing people together in towns and cities: the ecological and economic issues are important... as is accessibility to the various existing community infrastructures - schools, libraries, swimming pools, hospitals, crèches, etc.).

      It doesn't matter how much you do as a public service employee, different types of shared accommodation has become a key issue that needs to be understood.

      In 2019, for example, Coloc-Actions, along with other players, will be helping to draw up a document for Belgian political parties entitled " MEMORANDUM TO PROMOTE INTERGENERATIONAL AND SHARED HOUSING "in the run-up to the elections on 26 May.

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      What to avoid

      It is essential to avoid different inappropriate practices, or even arbitrary practices by agents within the same department, or different practices by administrative entities governed by the same legal framework in different territories.

      With that in mind, Coloc-Actions aims to provide training and specific tools for agents and civil servants at various levels of government. because streamlining practices leads to better governance. We propose provide practical supportefficiently and harmonise the various public authority bodies. We also support flatmates and all those involved in the world of flat-sharing at informal events such as the Shared-apartment meetingswhere you, the public authorities, have your place, just as the associations and companies.

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      Social sharing

      At Coloc-Actions, we believe that the public authorities should set up different types of shared accommodation for different target groups. We are thinking here in particular of Social Shared Accommodation and Shared Accommodation for Solidarity (see "Social Shared Accommodation"). our vision) and we are obviously making a link here with warm solidarity (organised within families) and cold solidarity (a mechanism put in place by the authorities).

      In addition, we stress that Coloc-Actions' management of the formation and composition of groups is a powerful means of combating the various forms of discrimination against people wishing to join groups of flatmates.

      Our model is compatible with that of the Agence Immobilière Sociale, but with a broader remit: it includes the possibility of opening up public housing or housing managed by public authorities to shared ownership.

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      We are active both nationally and internationally

      The members of the Coloc-Actions staff are very active and present on a number of important stages (both internationally and nationally), such as the World Congress on Shared Habitat.

      This International CongressThe conference, opened by HRH Queen Mathilde, raised a number of key issues for our association.

      We keep abreast of the various events on offer in Belgium in the world of shared housing, and take part in the various annual trade fairs organised each year in a major French-speaking city (or even in a French-speaking country). our mission).

      Our society is changing, and it's important to be aware of these changes.
      We have therefore put a survey online for both flatmates and landlords to get a snapshot of the world of flat-sharing today and to take into account the various wishes of all parties.

      Please help us update this picture by filling in the form and inviting your users to complete it. Apart from a study of the CRIOC dating from 2010There is no up-to-date information on shared accommodation in Belgium, and Coloc-Actions has set itself the goal of updating the situation.

      We have already distinguished four types of shared apartment (utilitarian, social, thematic, solidarity-based) that correspond to the various possible demands of the flatmates.

      Classified ads are a quick way to find a wide and varied selection of detailed shared accommodation for your users.

      Another of our projects is to bring together resources that will be useful to our members and visitors: articles and other materials, such as those already produced on the subject:

      We will also be communicating through a blogwhere all our members of the public can find answers to their questions about sharing.

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      The stakes are high...

      On the ground, a prospective flatmate and/or landlord may have the impression that the path is strewn with pitfalls, so varied and complicated are the procedures depending on the services they are dealing with.

      All together, we could harmonise these different rules made at different levels of power that have not necessarily consulted each other. At the same time, we could propose a single definition - a common core - of shared ownership and a rationalisation of its prerogatives, whatever the decision-making body.

      Both our actions for flatmates and landlords and the services we offer to the former and the latter will enable you to respond easily to the questions and requests you receive from the public and avoid unnecessary expenditure or wasted time.
      Our offers are distinct: for flatmates and the owners.

      In practical terms, in addition to the tailor-made lease, we will be providing tenants and landlords with a vade-mecum that will facilitate the work of local council officers, neighbourhood agents, agents in the various departments linked to social security who have to deal with users' files concerning their status (single, cohabiting) or any other contact person, insofar as it will set out both the procedure to be followed and the various rules.

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      Your contribution is welcome

      You can help us in a simple way, e.g. by displaying our posters and flyers on your premises, or by promoting our products. our events. And of course, like all ASBLs - today unsubsidised-We are always on the lookout for funding and partners, and we regularly welcome volunteers and trainees.

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      In conclusion

      In conclusion, Coloc-Actions would like to bring together the various players involved in shared accommodation and help to reorganise the systems in a rational and coherent way. We have been regularly confronted with different structures and we can bring coherence to these various mechanisms for the benefit of all involved, with the aim of responding to these new demands that are becoming commonplace by force of circumstance.

      We look forward to working with you, join our community
      And so that you don't miss any of our news, click here to receive our Newsletter.

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      All the information

      It will be useful for all aspects of shared accommodation: recruiting/selecting candidates according to your criteria, using their detailed profiles, the four different types of shared accommodation possible, the different lease options (individual lease or a single lease for all the flatmates), a standard entry inventory of fixtures, a standard exit inventory of fixtures, and a standard copy of the house rules to attach to the lease. In addition, your property will be presented clearly and precisely to prospective flatmates.

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      A secure and harmonious approach

      You are familiar with legal issues, administrative procedures, the various financial aspects, and the different psycho-social issues of flatmates and shared communities. Depending on your requirements, we can help you with any or all of these procedures.

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      Increased rental yield...

      ... to the maximum, easily and quickly, avoiding the hassle that is sometimes inherent in putting a property on the rental market. Our experience and expertise will ensure that everything is in place to optimise the occupancy of your property, avoid unpaid rent and limit vacancies.

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      Recovering part of your tax

      For example: council tax, which you can pass on to all your flatmates (unless you are sharing a flat with them - unless the other residents have a separate entrance). You can also recover part of the household waste collection tax, by making this clear to the flatmates. You can either include it in the monthly charges, or ask for an annual refund.

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      Do you own a large property?

      Coloc-Actions can help you to develop this type of property by offering it for sharing without any major investment. Coloc-Actions has extensive experience in adding value to this type of property, with minimal work or alterations: bedrooms easily become private areas, and other family rooms become shared areas.

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      Managing the integration of new flatmates

      Coloc-Actions can help a shared apartment to adopt a standard IVR and find the appropriate means of communication between the community and you, the owner, on the one hand, and within the shared apartment on the other. Indeed, it is essential that a good communication channel exists for any type of communication (request for urgent intervention in the event of a breakdown, scheduled maintenance visit, etc.).

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      Coaching for the design of your spaces

      Our services range from a simple visit with proposals and suggestions, through to full management of the work (estimates, site supervision, work carried out by reputable, serious companies).

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      The right lease contract!

      Depending on your property and your prospective flatmates.
      It takes account of the shared tenancy plan agreed by you and your flatmates.

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      Promoting shared housing

      By working with us, you become an agent of social change, committed to the development and construction of a type of society that focuses its actions on greater solidarity, benevolence and cooperation.

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      Take part in a collaborative economy...

      ... based on sharing resources. We encourage and promote the local economy, and systematically select partners and suppliers with a local and social dimension.

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