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Minibus - lease or buy?

Question

I have a second home in Ieper (Ypres), but still have my permanent residence in the UK. I want to buy or arrange a long-term contract lease on a minibus and leave it in Ieper while I'm not there. Can anyone advise what might be the best option for me? Also, can anyone advise on the best insurance company to insure the vehicle?

Answer
becasse Aug 11, 2016 21:23

It isn't an option unless you can register it in the UK. Only registered Belgian permanent residents can register cars in Belgium, the DIV (don't know the Flemish initials) won't register a car unless you have either an eID or a certificate of residence.

Registering it in the UK probably isn't an option either unless you normally keep it there because a UK insurance company won't insure a vehicle kept permanently or semi-permanently in Belgium.

It is just possible that you may be able to lease one in Belgium, so that it is registered and insured by the lessee. Find the nearest dealer to your second home in Ieper for the marque that interests you and start there.

Answer
kasseistamper Aug 12, 2016 09:57

You could speak to whomever insures your home or just any insurance broker to check whether there is any way round the registration problem mentioned by Becasse - you don't have to insure a vehicle with them just because you have asked for advice.
As to lease or buy, it will depend on how much of your time is spent in Ieper but it seems to me that, whichever you choose, you are going to spend a lot of money just to have a vehicle standing unused. Is it possible to do a deal with a local rental company if you guarantee to take a minibus for a minimum of x days per year?

Answer
Jeff58 Aug 12, 2016 11:54

Hi Becasse and Kasseistamper. Thank you for your answers to my question. They were both very helpful.

In regards, to being a 'resident' do you know how many days a year one has to spend in Belgium to considered a resident? Although I'm a UK resident I work outside of the UK for a large portion of the year, but this doesn't affect my resident status. There must be a similar ruling in Belgium?

Answer
becasse Aug 12, 2016 13:57

You can become a Belgian registered resident if you spend at least 183 days a year in the country OR, if you don't spend at least 183 days in any one country, you spend more days in Belgium than you do in any other country.

You must be eligible to reside in Belgium (basically a citizen of an EU country with an adequate source of funds) and have adequate health cover (mutuelle or private insurance). There would be a police control to check that you actually live in Belgium. You would automatically become liable to pay Belgian tax on all your income (subject to any double taxation treaties). You would cease to be a UK resident as it is impossible to be officially resident in more than one country.

Answer
Jeff58 Aug 14, 2016 13:57

Thank you for your reply, Becasse

Answer
CC_R Aug 16, 2016 11:59

Be aware if you become considered a Belgian resident but have a vehicle from a different EU country tax and insured there and you get caught driving it here that you can face a hefty fine. So be careful of bringing a UK vehicle over unless you plan to say you're not a Belgian resident. Maybe it's easier to go to a local dealer and see if you can have a good lease scheme where you only have the vehicle some times. Be aware car insurance is expensive here due to the high tax and high amount of accidents from the local driving habits

Answer
Jeff58 Aug 19, 2016 12:57

Hi CC_R,

Thank you for your advice.

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