20% fewer checks on housing habitability in centre citiesPosted at 07:23h in Flemish Parliament, living by Stella VansummerenIn all Flemish provinces, the number of checks on the suitability of housing decreased in recent years.
This is shown by figures requested by Flemish MP Mercedes Van Volcem (Open Vld) with Housing Minister Matthias Diependaele. City centres and provinces of Limburg and East Flanders in particular experienced a sharp decrease in the number of controls, by 20%, 25% and 23% respectively. "The obligations that housing must meet become stricter every year. At the beginning of 2020, the installation of smoke detectors was added. You would therefore expect that, instead of fewer checks on the habitability of housing, more will be carried out," says Mercedes Van Volcem.Whoever builds, renovates or rents a property in Flanders should take into account a lot of things. From 1 January 2020, for example, the installation of smoke detectors in all Flemish homes is mandatory. Housing inspectors appointed by the mayor or the housing agency Flanders carry out these home quality checks. Such an investigation is carried out, for example, in response to an application for rental subsidy or in a procedure for unsuitable or uninhabitable declaration. From the minister's response, we can infer that in 2018 there were fewer checks on the suitability of housing in all Flemish provinces than in 2014. In particular, provinces of Limburg and East Flanders are allowed to make notable declines to their name; they evolve from 1340 to 1005 checks (-25%) respectively. and from 3453 to 2649 checks (-23%)." These numbers worry me. In 4 years, the number of checks in each province has decreased. At the same time, there are more and more obligations that homes have to meet, such as the installation of smoke detectors. I therefore expect more checks on the habitability of commuters, not less. Because if the likelihood of control is not high enough, landlords or owners will not bother to put their property into line. And with the necessary presence of smoke detectors, there is no laughing. It has often been shown that they can save lives," says Flemish MP Mercedes Van Volcem (Open Vld). Van Volcem also focused specifically on what evolution looks like in the city cities. These figures show that the number of checks taken on average decreased by 20%. Of the 13 city centres, only Bruges, Mechelen and Roeselare saw an increase. It is also noticeable that in 2014 29% of the living homes audited were declared unsuitable, compared with 37% in 2018. Mercedes Van Volcem concludes: "If a lower number of controlled homes default as many homes as before, we know that something is wrong. Many people stay in dire conditions, especially in city centres. We have to put a stop to that. And this can only be done by continuing to increase the pressure on cottage milkers through controls. Let us therefore continue to work on this as a final part of our Flemish housing policy." In the period 2014-2018, the housing inspectors of Wonen Vlaanderen carried out approximately 60,000 conformity studies. Of these, approximately 14,000 resulted in an unsuitable or uninhabitable declaration.