Asbestos, a material that can still be found in many buildings in Belgium, is still responsible for health problems and a number of deaths every year. One way to combat the harmful effects of asbestos is through the use of an “asbestos certificate” to indicate the quantity of asbestos present and the materials or elements containing it in a building, for transparency purposes.
The Flemish Region, one of the three regions comprising Belgium, has therefore taken the plunge and has decided to legislate to require an asbestos certificate issued by an approved expert for each sale of buildings constructed before 2001. Beyond simple sales, this obligation will extend to any transfer of a right of ownership (and hence donations, long-term lease rights, surface rights or rights in rem). Conversely, a building that is inherited will not be affected by this new obligation. The certificate must be drawn up and sent to the buyer no later than the date of signing of any preliminary sales agreement signed, starting from 23 November 2022. It should be noted that the sale of an apartment will therefore require two certificates: one for the individual lot and one for the common areas (becoming compulsory as from 1 May 2025).
The Flemish Region has no intention of stopping there and plans to further bolster the obligations in this area; it is considering requiring an asbestos certificate for all buildings built before 2001 (even if they are not put up for sale) by 2032, and ultimately the total eradication of asbestos in all buildings in the region. However, as yet there are no asbestos certificates for buildings located in the Walloon and Brussels Regions, although it is likely that these regions will follow the Flemish example at a future time.
Barthelemy CLOET, Actalys, Brussels