If you settle on a property that needs renovation, familiarise yourself with the taxes and costs involved. While VAT on materials and services for renovations is typically about 21%, there is a 6% rate for the renovation of properties 15 years or older. Building a new home can be considerably more expensive – 12.5% tax is charged on the price of the land, and architect’s fees can be costly.
Are you eligible?
Subsidies range from 30 to 70% of the cost in a special development area or a local neighbourhood contract area. Outside those areas, households earning more than €60,000 are not eligible for any subsidy. There are also lump-sum supplements available for couples under 35 and for those with children and other dependants, such as elderly parents. Applications where the total cost of the works covered is less than €1,250 are not considered. The maximum cost of works taken into consideration for subsidy is €35,000 for properties with one or two bedrooms, and an additional €5,000 for each extra bedroom.
What subsidies are available?
For homeowners in the Brussels region, a variety of subsidies are available. Subsidies can be granted for construction or for renovation, with special subsidies for insulation. There are a couple of general conditions: renovation subsidies are paid for properties intended as a residence for the owner, who has to make the property his domicile at the end of the works and live there for at least five years. And the property must be at least 30 years old at the time the application is made. The work must be supervised by an accredited contractor, and must not begin before approval is given or the subsidy may be forfeited.
What is covered by the subsidies?
Renovation subsidies are not intended to help you get that dream kitchen or install a sauna. The work has to be intended to achieve a minimum of quality of life and safety. Any work required on the roof, doors and windows to make the property wind and water-tight would be covered, as would structural work to ensure stability, treatments for damp or infestations, noise and heat insulation, ventilation, hot water installations and renovations required to allow access for the disabled. It’s possible to apply for an advance on a subsidy of up to 90% on presentation of the contractor’s invoice for works ordered.
What about the house exterior?
The facade of your house is the part everyone else looks at, so to that extent it’s common property, and the region offers subsidies for its upkeep and renovation. These are available for owner-occupiers, landlords (including companies) and, in special cases, tenants. They cover buildings of at least 25 years of age in one of the 19 communes where at least two-thirds of the space is made up of living quarters (excluding cellars and attics, unless furnished). The façade must adjoin the public thoroughfare or stand no further than 8 metres back. Detached houses are not covered. Subsidies range from 30 to 85% and cover cleaning, sandblasting, scaffolding, repair and painting, including the application of anti-graffiti coverings. The maximum value of work covered is €25,000.
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