Different rental agreements

Last modified:

Friday 2 April 2021


Please note, the correct term is “rental agreement under common law” (“office rental agreement” is not a legal term). When a building is assigned to an office, the landlord and the tenant may conclude a rental agreement under common law. This rental agreement is suitable for non-commercial activities (liberal, intellectual, medical and legal professions, insurers, accountants, etc.) or for commercial activities that are not accessible to the general public without an agreement. The rental agreement is concluded for three years. This rental agreement provides more contractual freedom than a commercial rental agreement – useful when the parties, for example, agree to lay down flexible rules regarding termination. 


The precarious housing agreement is also for very short periods of time and is often not recorded in writing. It may be reclassified in a rental agreement if the facts show a situation in which a rental agreement should be concluded. Useful website on this subject.


The service agreement is a sufficiently flexible contract and more appropriate for sharing an office. This contract makes it possible to cease sharing an office without having to wait too long or easily to extend the term of the contract. This is particularly useful if you do not know whether the formula or the place are suitable for you or whether your project, for example, will take a different turn. When an activity starts, it is often difficult to see your activity in the medium or long term. If you rent an office, you are tied to this agreement for a few years, which may hamper you. With coworking, the contract that you sign automatically contains a minimum commitment period (but the term may be limited to a few months) and a short cancellation period that must be adhered to.


Sub-letting allows the tenant to let part of its office space whenever he/she is absent. This is generally possible only if the terms and conditions of the rental agreement or the regulations that apply to the rental agreement allow sub-letting.


This type of agreement concerns a building or part of a building for “retail activities or the activity of an artisan who is in direct contact with the public” (caterer, grocer, office bookseller, etc.). This rental agreement therefore applies in principle to shops and not to offices.

This rental agreement therefore offers the tenant a great deal of protection given the minimum term of nine years and the strict conditions regarding termination of the agreement. 

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