While the debate about whale hunting continues to grab headlines around the EU, it is time to turn our attention to another significant hunting subject which frequently fosters frustration in Brussels: ah yes, flat hunting.

Would you want to live in a house like this?

The Lobby is currently in the lucky position of learning just how exasperating this task can be for a newcomer to the Brussels scene. There are a bewildering number of points to take into consideration in any flat hunt and, as with any such hunting mission, it helps to be well-equipped: in this case with insider tips, knowledge about the local terrain, and an armoury of advice about potential stumbling blocks. Unfortunately, as The Lobby’s search has yet to reach fruition, our advice is limited, yet hopefully nevertheless informative.

First things first: where to start the search? Our faithful friend the internet is The Lobby’s natural port of call for this task, and www.appartager.be provides a useful database of flat and flatshare offers, as well as of other individuals looking for lodgings. Here you can create a profile to portray yourself to the property world, provide information about yourself, the intended length of stay, accommodation preferences etc. Alas, however, the capitalist system has meant that even such a service does not come for free. To make full use of the site and be able to contact all other users, you have to pay for premium membership.

The next hurdle is narrowing down your search to a specific area; where will the best specimens be found, where should you avoid? Obviously this depends on your own needs and desires, but given The Lobby’s location in the heart of the EU district, good areas include Ixelles, Etterbeek, and Centre. Of course, a prime location can severely distort price, however, and bears no relation to quality, as The Lobby sadly found out just recently…

Price is also of great importance when flat hunting, and while comparisons with other major cities such as Berlin will leave you feeling rather disheartened, comparisons to London or Paris make Brussels seem rather reasonable.

One crucial fact The Lobby has learned from forays into this field is the overwhelming absence of washing machines in flats in Brussels. It appears to be a rare occurrence for flats here to come equipped with their own machine, which has no doubt led to the vast number of launderettes that can be found on Brussels’s streets. So depending on how keen you are to wash your smalls in public, this titbit of information might prove the most significant in your hunt for that elusive perfect apartment.

– Rhian

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