With a petition on its website, the interest group TWERES is once again mobilising owners of second homes abroad to act against the ban on going to their property. The association says it has been inundated with angry reactions from people who do not understand why they have to wait until 19 April, or perhaps even longer, to cross the border with their car and drive to their second home. They are particularly angry because they have to leave their property unattended for three months and cannot even take urgent measures to prevent, for example, frost damage, water damage or theft. The association is now collecting signatures around the demand to add “necessary trips of owners to their property abroad to carry out urgent maintenance or repair works” to the list of essential trips in the annexes of the applicable ministerial decree.
On 6 March, the consultative committee of the federal and regional governments extended the ban on non-essential trips to and from the Belgian territory until 18 April. The list of “essential journeys” remains unchanged. Travel to and from Belgium remains permitted for professional reasons, imperative family reasons, humanitarian reasons, etc., but also to care for animals, to move house or for urgent repairs to ensure the safety of a vehicle.
By petitioning the Council of State, the non-profit association TWERES and four owners of second homes abroad tried to challenge the existing wording of the ban on non-essential travel. In its ruling of 2 March, the Council refused to rule on the owners’ question because its extreme urgency was not sufficiently demonstrated.
“Our members are not simply resigning themselves to this,” say the TWERES directors. “They understand that the responsible ministers want to limit as much as possible the trips to and from our country as long as the control possibilities and safety measures are not yet sufficiently developed. What particularly bothers them is the arbitrary list of which trips are qualified as “essential” in the ministerial decree. Urgent work on a house is often just as urgent and requires just as much a visit on site as caring for animals or carrying out repairs on a vehicle.”
TWERES further argues: “There is also no weighing up with this list that takes into account contamination risks. There is a huge lack of understanding for the fact that an owner is prohibited from driving his car from his garage at home to his mobile home in Zeeland or his cottage in a remote village in the Dordogne. There is even less understanding for the fact that this ban remains in place, even if urgent works have to be carried out there. Also, the fact that the date for relaxing the travel ban is first promised but then postponed again causes resentment and frustration.”
With all owners of a second home abroad signing this petition, TWERES now asks the competent ministers to add necessary trips of owners to their home abroad to carry out urgent maintenance or repair worksto the list of “essential”l trips in the annexes of the applicable Ministerial Decree of 28 October 2020 on urgent measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 (as last amended by MB of 7 March 2021).