Immunity from seizure
You may be reluctant to enter self-employment due to the risk of your family home being seized. In fact, the law now makes it easier for self-employed persons to separate their private from their business assets. This means that they can make their home immune from seizure, subject to certain conditions.
Eligible professional activities
Companies are not covered by this home protection. Only individuals - more specifically tradespeople, craftspeople and professionals - are eligible. In addition, their work must be carried out:
- as a main activity;
- in Belgium.
What the immunity covers
Home protection applies to:
- the self-employed person’s main residence, i.e. the one they live in for most of the year;
- a building of which the self-employed person is the owner, usufructuary or co-owner.
In the event that the professional activity is carried on in the same place as the main residence, the area immune from seizure is determined by considering the surface area used for work purposes in relation to the total surface area of the building:
- If it is less than 30%, the whole building will be declared immune from seizure.
- If it is equal to or greater than 30%, only the part used as the main residence will be declared immune from seizure. In this case, a special deed (acte de base/basisakte) must be drawn up, clearing dividing ownership of the building into a private and a work-related part.
To protect their main residence, self-employed persons must have a declaration of immunity from seizure drawn up by a notary of their choice. This formality costs €1,000 (€500 for the notary’s fees and €500 for the registration of the declaration).
- The home protection only covers claims made subsequent to the declaration and only those that are related solely to professional activity carried out as a self-employed person.
- The declaration automatically ceases to be valid in the event of the death of the self-employed person or if the latter’s professional status changes to that of employee or civil servant.