Article 3 of the Law of 30 April 1951 on commercial leases provided that the duration of a commercial lease could not last for less than 9 years.
However, this long duration, whose primary intent was to protect the lessee and his business, did not exactly fit the needs and expectations of the sector anymore.
This is why since 1/09/2016 in the Flemish Region (decree of 17/06/2016), since 7 April 2018 in the Walloon Region (decree of 15/03/2018) and most recently, since 19 May 2019 in the Brussels-Capital Region (decree of 25/04/2019), short-term commercial leases (“Pop-up store lease”) can also be concluded, i.e for a maximum duration of 1 year.
These legislative amendments tend to respond to a strong call from actors on the ground to legislate on situations, which usually led to the conclusion of precarious occupation agreements that were often requalified into long-term leases.
These new provisions should also help boost trade, fight rental vacancy and encourage merchants to embrace innovative concepts, which were beyond their reach under the old provisions of the Law on commercial leases.
The new decrees and ordinance apply to all leases that fall within the scope of Law of 30 April 1951 on commercial leases, i.e., all leases that are primarily assigned by the tenant to a commercial or craft activity involving the sale of retail products or services involving direct contact with the general public.
In Flanders and Wallonia, a short-term commercial lease is deemed to have been concluded for a period of nine years from its initial entry into force if neither party terminates it on its expiry. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the lease will end at its expiry date without the possibility of tacit renewal (the parties are obviously free to extend the lease for up to 9 years, subject to a prior written agreement).
The three regional texts provide that the lessee can terminate a short-term commercial lease at any time upon a one month’s notice and that the rent at least include taxes.
Carrying out an inventory of fixtures and registering short-term leases is mandatory.
For further information on this topic, please feel free to contact Carole DERUYT esq. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Cairn Legal team.