Even with limited supply and constant demand, property prices in Antwerp are stable and generally cheaper than other major European cities. Accommodation tends to be small but comfortable, and while most houses have good heating, air-conditioning is uncommon and unnecessary.
Areas and suburbs in Antwerp
There is a wide selection of areas and suburbs in Antwerp for expats to choose from. For city lovers, areas near the R10 ring road and De Leien streets are popular with expats, providing easy access to transport and a wealth of amenities. However, these conveniences come with expensive properties and potential traffic issues.
Suburbs like Deurne and Zurenborg offer a range of accommodations appealing to expats. Home to the city's largest park, Deurne offers cultural landmarks and excellent cycling routes. Zurenborg is renowned for its classic architecture and tranquil environment with easy access to public transport.
Den Dam, once a home for dockworkers, now offers an edgy, multicultural environment near the city centre. Meanwhile, Zuid, a revitalised museum district, is a favourite among young expats for its nightlife and scenic views. However, Den Dam might lack the aesthetics found elsewhere, and Zuid can be crowded, posing challenges for families.
See Areas and Suburbs in Antwerp for more detail.
Types of accommodation in Antwerp
Antwerp has a wide range of apartments, from old flats with high ceilings and chandeliers to modern glass-and-steel studios. Some of the most attractive and expensive apartments are in the city centre.
Most rental properties are unfurnished. Some properties are effectively empty and don't have built-in cupboards, while others have an equipped kitchen with a refrigerator and stove. Expats should ensure they know what is included in the property before signing a lease. For those seeking temporary accommodation, short leases are available. These are more likely to come furnished, and utilities are often included in the rent, providing a convenient solution for shorter stays in the city.
Finding accommodation in Antwerp
Most expats in Antwerp choose to use estate agents who have databases of long- and short-term rentals. The classifieds sections of local newspapers are another excellent source of information. Expats can also physically look for somewhere to live in areas that appeal to them. Popular property portals include Immoweb, Realo and Zimmo.
Renting accommodation in Antwerp
Making an application
Applications typically involve providing proof of income and identification. The landlord may also request references from previous landlords or employers.
Leases and deposits
The standard lease agreement in Belgium is nine years, but three-year contracts are also possible. Termination requires three months' written notice, with a penalty fee equivalent to three months' rent if requested in the first year. Expats need to pay a deposit of up to three months' rent. Belgian leases contain a list of tenants' and owners' responsibilities. Tenants are likely to be responsible for upkeep like carpet cleaning and gardening. A full inventory should be completed and signed by both parties, as tenants can be held liable for damages to the property.
See Accommodation for Expats in Belgium for more in-depth information.
Utilities in Antwerp
Like many European cities, Antwerp's renters will find that utilities are typically excluded from the rental price and must be paid in addition to the monthly rental. The tenant is usually responsible for organising utility accounts with their local utility companies.
Expats who have hired a real-estate agent can get their assistance with getting utilities connected. Alternatively, the administration department of a particular apartment building or housing complex will help new tenants with this.
Electrabel is a major electricity provider in Antwerp, and expats moving into detached homes will typically need to contact them for the electricity connection process. The electricity provider will assist expats with generating a residence evaluation report, which includes information on what kind of meter has been installed on the property and the number of outlets. They can submit the report with original and certified copies of their residence permit and proof of identity. This can be done in person or online. Electricity bills are typically distributed and paid monthly via direct debit or at the bank. Most homes in Antwerp use gas for heating, and companies like Fluxys lead the gas supply market.
Water in Antwerp is supplied by Water-Link. New arrivals renting an apartment will have their water connected by building management, and those moving into a standalone residential property must contact Water-Link's customer service to add their name to the bill and get connected. Expats will need to provide the agent with their residence permit number.
The city's waste collection utility, Stad Antwerpen, oversees waste management in Antwerp. Waste collection in Antwerp is based on a curbside system. Residents are required to separate their waste into different bags, with recyclable, general and organic waste sorted into individual bags. Stad Antwerpen will then collect the rubbish on designated days. Expats can enter their street address on Stad Antwerpen's website to find their rubbish collection day and route. Antwerp also has recycling centres dotted throughout the city as part of the city's waste management network.