For the sale of a house or apartment in Brussels, the legislator has made it obligatory for estate agents to put together an information pack that they have to hand over to any would-be buyer. At Engel & Völkers, we put everything in place for the purpose of preparing a complete pack. The list of documents has changed over the last few years.
Here is the latest version
Since 2011, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been compulsory in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. It provides information about the energy performance of the building put up for sale. This document is drawn up by an approved professional and is valid for 10 years.
- Land-use designation
The advertising for a property put up for sale has to state the most recent land-use designation for the property. It also has to mention in detail any valid permits or local development plan certificates relating to the property up for sale. The request is made either by the estate agent or by the notary (solicitor).
- Soil pollution
This is the certificate which confirms that the ground of the plot or of the house concerned is not polluted. This document is essential for selling a property. In Brussels, the body responsible for issuing soil certificates is the IBGE and, in Flanders, it’s the OVAM. It is usually the notary who handles the request for this.
- Electrical wiring inspection
Since 1st July 2008, the vendor has to have an electrical wiring inspection report issued by an approved body. All dwellings are covered. It has to be handed over to the buyer on the day of the authenticated deed of sale at the latest.
- Subsequent works advisory file
The subsequent works advisory file is a sort of set of instructions for the house. In refers to any work done, the structure, the positions of cables, wires and pipework. It also contains useful information regarding safety that has to be taken into account when any subsequent work is carried out. It should be kept by the owners, who will have to hand it over to the future buyer when the sale takes place. The notary has to refer to it in the deed of sale.
- Co-ownership service charges
Additional information has to be passed on to the buyer of an apartment forming part of a jointly- owned building. Before the preliminary sales agreement for an apartment is signed, the agent has to hand over to the buyer a range of information relating to the jointly-owned building, including the amount of the working capital and reserve fund, a statement of the charges of the last 2 years, the minutes of the general meetings of the last 3 years, etc.
Worth bearing in mind
Putting this pack together is a fairly laborious task but is compulsory from a legal point of view. It is also a formality to ensure that the sale goes smoothly. It has a direct impact on the outcome of the sale. Indeed, many transactions have had to be renegotiated or cancelled due to lack of information passed on to the buyer. At Engel & Völkers, our advisers are trained to help you with all the administrative procedures and they will help you, step by step, to obtain all the necessary documents. You’ll see how much easier this makes the selling process.
As Abraham Lincoln used to say: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”