Here is some advice on how to find a perfect accommodation

Which areas are the best?

Etterbeek

Best known for the area at the top end of the Parc du Cinquantenaire, Etterbeek is filled with attractive streets and has plenty of green spaces, including Jean-Félix Hap Park and the Fontenay-sous-Bois gardens. Home to many European institutions, it has fantastic public transport facilities. The relatively cheap housing prices and good availability of apartments make Etterbeek particularly attractive, alongside its growing international community.

Pros

- Nice area
- Close to institutions

Cons

- Expensive supermarkets

Ixelles

Ixelles is a massive commune with character and style, wildly popular with the expatriate community. This Brussels neighbourhood falls into distinct areas: trendy Châtelain with its café culture, the leafy ponds and abbey area leading down to the Bois de la Cambre; and buzzy Chaussée d’Ixelles, which takes in the Matongé, the African quarter and the cemetery with its late-night bars and student population.

Pros

- Erasmus nightlife
- Green areas and parks
- Nice pubs and venues
- Cheap

Cons

- Out of the way
- Mediocre connections

Bruxelles
(city center)

If being in the thick of it all is irresistible then Brussels’ centre neighbourhood is the place for you. In recent years, previously run-down parts of the centre have become a magnet for young professionals. Most expats working or studying in the capital choose to rent an apartment here, not only because they can walk to work, but also because of its fun nightlife.

Pros

- Shopping centers
- Cultural heart

Cons

- Expensive
- Lots of tourists

Saint-Gilles

St Gilles is a favourite Brussels neighbourhood among expats who like to live like locals. From the top end, with its grand Art Nouveau houses, down to the earthy Gare du Midi, St Gilles is packed with quirky restaurants, shops and a buzzing nightlife. There is a wide number of theatres, cinemas and galleries to explore that make the atmosphere vibrant, dynamic and attractive.

Pros

- Nice pubs and venues
- Artistic area

Cons

- Expensive
- Out of the way

Saint-Josse-ten-Noode

Known as the ‘commune with many faces’, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is the smallest of Brussels’ communes but the most densely populated. Not only culturally diverse, it is also a neighbourhood of contrasts, with five-star hotels on Place Rogier and the stylish Nouveau Quartier Nord, next to residential neighbourhoods housing expats from all over the world.

Pros

- Close to institutions
- Multicultural
- Cheap

Cons

- Not super nice area

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How to avoid bad situations

Don't send money

It's always advisable visiting the apartment first and never send money without having seen the flat, to reduce online rental scams.

Don't rush signing

Don't rush to sign your lease but ask the Expat Welcome Desk to check it first. That will ensure that you avoid some classic mistakes.

Check contract

Different rules apply depending on the lease type: long term (9 years), short term (6 months to 3 years), very short term (< 6 months).

Avoid suspicious landlords

Avoid signing a contract or giving a deposit to a landlord that doesn't make you feel safe and secure. Report immediately any abuse or injustice.

Meet the other flatmates

Meeting the other flatmates, if possible, can be good to understand the vibe of the house. Agreeing on some general rules can be a good starting point.

Have a look to the furniture

In order to avoid conflicts with your landlord at the end of your stay, always prefer to check the furniture at your arrival and report broken one ASAP.