“We don’t want Brussels to become Barcelona”

The head of Urban Planning of the City of Brussels, Geoffroy Coomans de Brachene, accompanied by the agents of the Control Unit of the Department of Urbanism, this morning announced they have barricaded the doors of a building offering illegal accommodation for tourists in the city-centre.

This move comes amid concerns of illegal accommodation increasing at the expense of housing intended for residence of Brussels, creating fears that local residents may be pushed out due to the influx of tourism.

The first victims of this situation are the inhabitants of Brussels themselves,” says the council. “The consequences on their quality of life, their finances, their mobility … on their daily life are enormous.

Currently, Brussels is suffering from a suppression of housing for inhabitants due to a large number of tourists creating a demand for accommodation.

Today about 1,500 homes are removed from the market for in order to provide illegal accommodation for tourists in the city of Brussels, and more than 6,000 in the Brussels-Capital Region.

There is a clear distortion of competition between these types of accommodations and the recognised tourist sector (hotels, bed and breakfast). The city of Brussels recently opened 650 cases against illegal tourist accommodation with the majority being unregistered. These types of accommodation not only deprive residences of accommodation but avoid tax, causing problems for the local communes of the city.