Old and historic street in Leuven , Source: Depositphotos

Up to 3,750 euros tax per year for vacant homes in Leuven

Up to 3,750 euros tax per year for vacant homes in Leuven

Currently, there are about 1,000 of these in the Belgian city

Yesterday, the local council in Leuven, Belgium, announced that they will step up their action against vacant housing. Putting unoccupied buildings, especially those which are unfit to live in, has been identified as an essential tool to fight the housing crisis in the city.

The city plans to increase the vacancy tax rate in 2023, with the new rules applying to aiming to convince more would-be landlords to get their buildings in order and put them on the market. From next year, property owners could be taxed up to 3,750 euros per year for a vacant home.

Additionally, while the tax does apply to housing that is currently considered unliveable or under construction, it will not apply to property owners who have lost their hose due to a fire, for instance.

The idea, according to a statement by the city, is not to penalise people who have suffered through a tragedy but rather, to encourage a larger supply on the housing market, while making investment properties less attractive.

There are 1,000 homes in Leuven, waiting to get on the market

Starting in 2023, the vacant property tax will increase to 1,000 euros per year for a room and 3,750 for a whole home.  Currently, this is 575 euros for a room and 2,865 euros for a home. Additionally, in 2024, the vacancy tax will start being indexed annually to make the process more transparent and less politicised.

According to Flemish authorities, currently, there are around 1,000 homes in Leuven that are considered vacant and unsuitable for habitation. This number also includes places that are undergoing renovation work.

Alderman for Mobility David Dessers was quoted in a press statement, explaining: “The pressure on the housing market is high. Every vacant or dilapidated house is therefore a thorn in our side. That is why we will increase the tax on vacant and dilapidated houses and rooms from 2023. We want to encourage owners to put their buildings in order so that more homes come on the market.”



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