Pursuant to the amended RD no. 55, real estate leasing is to be defined as follows:
- The agreement must have a fixed term.
- It must apply to built real property.
- The lease price must be set in such a way that the investment in the built real property is constituted entirely from the sum of the lease payments.
- The use of the buildings and of the land on which they stand must be granted by the lessor to the lessee by means of an agreement that does not automatically transfer the rights in rem which the lessor holds.
- The contract must offer the lessee the opportunity to acquire, at the end of the lease, the rights in rem to the leased property, in exchange for the payment of a sum to be laid down in the agreement.
Companies for whom the leasing of movables or of real estate constitutes their ‘ordinary business’ may exercise this activity only after they have obtained recognition from the Minister of Economic Affairs. It is not entirely clear what is to be understood by the term ‘ordinary business’. The FPS Economy takes a strict view of this. Only one-time or casual transactions that are not of a business nature would be exempted from the obligations imposed by RD no. 55.
Another important consequence of the extension of RD no. 55 is that leasing companies active in real estate leasing will also be required to report their data regarding agreements, beneficiaries and defaults in payments relating to such agreements to the Central Corporate Credit Register.
Companies that are active in real estate leases have a period of six months (i.e. until 1 November 2012) to apply for recognition and to comply with the conditions for such recognition.