The Flemish Parliament recently ratified the decree introducing the Building Passport.
1. What is a Building Passport?
The Building Passport is defined as an instrument for the exchange and possible digital storage of information on buildings, land and their surroundings.
More specifically, it is a unique digital interface which allows holders holding a right in rem in a house/plot to obtain a comprehensive overview of all information (planning permission and permits, inspections, certificates, technical data, etc.) relating to it.
This will make it possible to look up all information on buildings and land that is known to the different Flemish Government bodies.
Furthermore, where applicable, it will also be possible to supplement this information with information made available by other (federal, provincial or local) governments and authorities.
The information remains linked to the property, and is transferrable from owner to owner.
2. Holder of a right in rem
A “holder of a right in rem” refers to anyone who holds a right of property, right of building, leasehold or usufruct. Also so-called bare owners who hold a right in rem in a property together with usufructuary(ies), gain access to the Building Passport. And where several persons together hold a right in rem in a property, each person can gain separate access to the Building Passport.
In future, it may also be possible to grant access to the Building Passport for authorised third parties, e.g. an architect, engineer or estate agent.
3. What is meant by “information on the surroundings”?
The “surroundings” refers to the plot on which the relevant building is located and also nearby plots, whose land-related information may affect the building in question.
Information relating to land may be, for example, planning permission, architectural heritage protection, location in a habitat area, or in an area subject to flooding, etc.
Information relating to surroundings may be, for example, location in relation to public transport connections, schools and shops or habitat area, status of the public highway along which the building is located, etc.
4. What are Flemish Government departments allowed to do with the data?
Flemish Government departments are allowed to retain the supplemented data, and may consult it, provided the holder of the right in rem consents to this.
However, prior to any monitoring, evaluation or research, all data contained in the Building Passport must be rendered anonymous.
The Flemish Government can determine the cases in which it is possible to make the data available to third parties in anonymised form, and shall lay down the conditions for use of this data.
The aim of the Building Passport is to provide the most comprehensive and complete dossier possible on all buildings and their surroundings.
The hope is to achieve sustainable, high-quality, low-energy building stock by providing citizens with the maximum possible information and simplifying communication between citizens, enterprises and government.
This promises to make life easier for anyone considering buying or selling a building, or converting or letting a property.
The Building Passport will at first be for private homes only, and in future will be expanded to include other buildings, hence the name ‘Building Passport’. From then on, construction companies will also be able to use this tool.
For now, we need only await publication of the decree in the Belgian Official Gazette. We will keep you informed of any further developments.