ARTICLE
22 March 2024

Brussels Renovation Obligation Approved By Parliament

Following the example of the Flemish region, the Brussels-Capital-Region also introduces a renovation obligation. The draft ordinance amending the ordinance of 2 May 2013...
Belgium Real Estate and Construction
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

Following the example of the Flemish region, the Brussels-Capital-Region also introduces a renovation obligation. The draft ordinance amending the ordinance of 2 May 2013 on the Brussels Code of Air, Climate and Energy Control ("CoBrACE") submitted to the Brussels Parliament on 20 December 2023, was approved on 23 February 2024. Next, the ordinance will have to be promulgated by the Brussels Government and published before it can come into force.

The ordinance introduces several measures to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have summarised the most important changes for you.

The draft ordinance and key changes

The regulations governing the energy performance of buildings in the Brussels Region are contained in the CoBrACE. The Brussels-Capital Region is committed to two goals in this Code by 2050: (i) the average primary energy consumption of all residential buildings in the Brussels-Capital Region must be maximum 100 kWh/m²/year, and (ii) all non-residential buildings in the Region must be energy neutral. The aim of the draft ordinance is to amend various points of the Brussels CoBrACE in view of achieving these goals. The table below provides an overview of the main changes made:

1441114a.jpg

Introduction of the obligation to renovate

The draft ordinance introduces a renovation obligation for residential buildings located in the Brussels-Capital-Region. As from the entry into force of the ordinance (to be determined by the Brussels Government), the necessary works will have to be carried out:

  • within a period of 10 years (or in any case no later than 2033) to enable the property to achieve an energy consumption level of less than or equal to 275 kWh/m² per year (e. to achieve at least class E).
  • within a period of 20 years to enable the property to achieve an energy consumption level of less than or equal to 150 kWh/m² per year (e. to achieve at least class C).

The obligation to renovate lies with the holder(s) of the right in rem over the property (i.e. a separate EPB unit). The ordinance defines the "holder of a right in rem" as the person who holds one of the following rights in rem over the EPB certificate unit: the right of ownership (including the right to bare ownership), co-ownership, the right of usufruct, the right of emphyteusis or the right to build.

For apartment buildings, the responsibility lies with the co-owners' association (vereniging van mede-eigenaars / association des copropriétés) if the EPB certificate shows that renovation works are required in the common parts of the building. This could of course lead to difficult legal and technical discussions.

The ordinance introduces the possibility of requesting an exemption for properties in limited cases with the Brussels Environment Agency:

  • When the holder of the right in rem of the property can establish that it is technically, functionally or economically unfeasible to comply with the requirements (at the latest one year before the deadline set for meeting the requirements).
  • In the case of listed properties or properties included on the conservation list that are being renovated, when full compliance with the requirements would be detrimental to the conservation of the heritage.

Of course, the Brussels capital contains many properties as listed on the conservation of heritage list, which can be found via the following link: Kaart – Inventaris van het bouwkundig erfgoed (heritage.brussels)

It should be noted that the Brussels model differs from the Flemish model in that it provides for an entry into force date to be determined by the Government. In the Flemish Region, the obligation to renovate is incumbent on owners from the time of purchase of the property.

Compulsory EPB certificate

Currently, an EPB certificate is mandatory in the Brussels Region (i) in the event of a sale or lease of a dwelling of more than 18 m² or an office space of 500 m² or more , (ii) for public organisations occupying, as tenant, owner or otherwise, one or more buildings of a surface of 250 m² or more and (iii) in the event of new residential or non-residential construction.

The Ordinance requires that it is necessary to know the current energy level of all properties before undertaking the necessary energy renovation works and stipulates that no later than 5 years following the entry into force, any holder of a right in rem over an EPB unit must have a valid EPB certificate. This certificate is valid for a maximum of ten years.

Gradual phase-out of fossil fuels

In the Brussels-Capital Region, 79% of heating installations in the residential sector are supplied by natural gas. In order to achieve the decarbonisation objectives, a gradual phase-out of the use of fossil fuels will be put in place. After 1st of June 2025, any boiler installed will be powered by a renewable liquid fuel (i.e. from biomass).

In addition, the ordinance provides for the phasing out of fossil fuels in new buildings. Gas-fired boilers will no longer be permitted as from 1st January 2025. This ban will also apply to major renovations as from 1st January 2030.

Penalties for non-compliance with EPB requirements

The draft ordinance provides that the Brussels Environment Agency will have the power to impose administrative fines in the event of non-compliance with the EPB requirements by the scheduled deadline of 2033 or 2045.

The Brussels Environmental Agency can impose fines on the basis of the surface of the EPB unit x EUR 2.5 x (difference between the declared annual primary energy consumption and the required energy consumption in the ordinance, i.e. 275 kWh/m² per year and 150 kWh/m² per year, capped at 125 kWh/m² per year).

Example: Suppose a 200 m² building, in 2033, is still in energy class G because it has a primary energy consumption of 365 kWh/m² per year (no renovation works performed). In 2033, the ordinance requires a minimum consumption level of 275 kWh/m² per year. The fine is thus: 2.5 x (365 - 275) x 200 m² = 45,000 EUR.

Owner will thus have to make the evaluation against the costs of the renovation works.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More