Real estate law is a branch of property law (i.e. real property) that specifically targets real estate (as opposed to movable property). In practical terms, it is a term covering both private and public law elements and concerns real estate and its management.
The real estate law concerns in particular:
• Real estate rental
• Buying and selling real estate (real estate transactions)
• Neighbourhood disturbances
• Buildings and co-ownership
• Building permits
• Urban planning rules
• Real estate and its status
These regulations can lead to a number of legal complications. Fortunately, in order to protect investors, tenants and landlords, Belgian law has introduced numerous laws in terms of real estate law. These specific rules fall under the building and housing code, the civil code and the town planning code.
Today, any real estate project requires an interdisciplinary approach. It is therefore necessary to address the various issues related to real estate law from a global perspective. Indeed, a real estate project may refer to civil real estate law, administrative law, environmental law, urban planning law, law of obligations, contract law, company law and tax law.
Therefore, it is essential to call on a professional who is capable of handling all these disciplines. You can choose between a notary’s office, a law firm specialising in real estate law or a real estate agent who will be able to assist you in your various acts of purchase, sale, loan, rental or leasing.
In order to avoid paying considerable fees and to benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, it is wise to call upon GOlegal. Our team of specialized lawyers has a solid expertise in all legal and fiscal aspects of real estate: promotion, construction, sale, rental, co-ownership, usufruct, emphyteusis, easement, joint ownership, neighbourhood disturbances, urban planning law, real estate tax law and much more.
Taking into account the interests of developers, investors and users, we have put in place innovative solutions covering all real estate operations :
1. Real estate transactions
A real estate transaction is an act of purchase or sale of real estate.
Buyers and sellers can use real estate intermediaries to find properties or potential buyers, but this practice is not mandatory.
After reaching an agreement, the buyer and seller must first draw up and sign a preliminary contract which will result in a sale agreement, in which the buyer and seller mutually agree to carry out a real estate transaction, or a promise to sell, in which the sale commitments are unilateral. In this case, only the seller is responsible for selling the property to the buyer. The buyer is under no obligation to buy, but must pay a property indemnity which he will not recover if the sale does not take place.
Whether it is an agreement or a promise to sell, it does not require an authenticated deed and can be established under private signature. On the other hand, the deed of sale must be drawn up by a notary and signed before him in order to conclude the real estate transaction.
All these steps can lead to risks that our team of lawyers are used to face. Whether you are selling real property in Belgium, or in international markets, or if you wish to acquire real property on a national or international scale, you are faced with numerous risks linked to the different legislation in force. Our team is composed of lawyers located all over the world who can offer you advice in the languages and jurisdictions appropriate to your situation. We can provide you with a team including one or more qualified real estate experts who will handle all your real estate transactions.
2. Real estate taxation
Under Belgian law, real estate is subject to various taxes, such as property tax, withholding tax, income tax on unrented real estate (cadastral income), second home tax, etc.
Our network of qualified experts in all areas of law allows us to work closely together on all aspects of real estate taxation to enable you to sell or acquire property at reasonable tax rates so that you can enter the real estate market without fear.
We advise you on all tax aspects of your real estate projects, whether it be real estate development, lease, usufruct, emphyteusis, or mortgage.
A lease is a contract by which the owner undertakes to provide a property to a third party in exchange for the payment of rent and charges. The rental contract stipulates the obligations and rights of the lessor and the tenant. It is binding on both parties and defines the principles and rules of operation of leasing. Any property can be leased, whether it is housing, commercial premises, land, infrastructure or equipment.
A rental agreement has legal force. In the event of a dispute, any party can invoke it.
What are the obligations that arise from a rental agreement?
For the landlord, he must provide the tenant with decent accommodation, hand over all the obligatory documents and send the receipts free of charge.
For tenants, the latter must pay rents as well as charges under conditions and deadlines stipulated in the contract.
As a real estate law professional supported by lawyers specialized in contract law, we can assist you, both owner and tenant, in all the administrative steps necessary to conclude a rental agreement.
When ownership of a building or group of buildings is divided among different owners, it is called co-ownership.
The condominium by-law defines the rules of life and the rules of operation of the condominium. All residents of the property (co-owners and tenants) must respect them. A syndic of co-ownership is appointed to ensure that it is respected. He is also the condominium manager, which means that he manages the condominium and its day-to-day affairs.
Our role as an expert in real estate law is to assist you, whether you are a trustee or a co-owner, in general meetings, the recovery of unpaid rent, disputes and the resulting expert appraisals.
5. Building permit
Real estate law refers mainly to private law, i.e. to contract law.
However, it also contains public law rules in the context of building permit obligations for certain constructions.
Building permits are administrative permits required for certain construction projects and must be filed at the town hall where the site is located.
The building permits can vary such as the building permits valid for division or the modifying building permits.
Our expertise in construction law allows us to handle all your construction projects. We will support you in promoting your interests vis-à-vis all parties involved in the building permit process, namely the project owner, the developer, the architect, the engineer, etc.
6. Neighbourhood disturbances
A neighbourhood disturbance is an abnormal nuisance caused by a neighbour that affects the peace of one or more neighbours. The term “abnormal” is important because only normal nuisances are reprehensible. Indeed, neighbourhood is synonymous with promiscuity and therefore, potentially, with nuisance.
The most common neighbourhood problems are noise and odour nuisance.
Our team will be able to advise you in order to find an amicable solution via a mediation or arbitration procedure.
If you cannot find an amicable solution, even with the help of a judicial mediator, we will be able to guide you in bringing legal proceedings before the competent courts.
7. Real estate litigation
Our team is also competent to help you with legal procedures in case of administrative or judicial litigation.
In the event of any dispute, our team will work tirelessly to ensure that your property rights are respected, or to defend you against claims by all entitled parties. We are used to dealing with national and international clients such as developers, investors, landlords or banks. Therefore, we can provide you with strategic advice in order to avoid litigation or to settle it under the best possible conditions, such as mediation.
If you wish to rely on a great expertise in the field of real estate law with the help of lawyers adapted to your problems and able to offer you a tailor-made solution, do not hesitate to contact us. We can be reached by e-mail and on our website GOlegal and will contact you within 24 hours.