European Journal of Housing Policy vol:5 issue:2 pages:165-185
In Belgium, housing policy is one of the responsibilities of the regional governments. According to the Belgian Constitution, every citizen has the right to decent and affordable housing. However, the violation of this right for many families is increasingly contested. In particular, the problems of poor housing quality and of rising housing costs on the private rental market are being raised. In the past, housing policy in Belgium (and Flanders) has mainly been directed towards home ownership. There is no housing benefit for the private rental sector and the social housing sector remains limited. The Flemish government is now being challenged to develop a new approach towards the private rental sector. The introduction of a housing allowance is being considered. In this article, we describe the problems affecting the private rental market in Flanders. We discuss possible policy instruments, more specifically the introduction of a housing allowance, within the theoretical framework of neo-classical economic theory and within the institutional and regulatory framework of Flemish housing policy.