Owners of mobile homes, in application of their contract with the campsite manager, are often obliged, when selling their mobile home (even if they sell it to another owner on the same campsite), to give a percentage of the selling price to the campsite manager. If the sale was made possible through the mediation of the campsite manager, this may seem justified. Very often, however, the campsite manager does not play any role in the sale. In that case, this arrangement strongly resembles unjustified enrichment. Individually, there is little that campers can do about it. With TWERES, however, we can work together for balanced model contracts. An example of model contracts are the RECRON conditions for permanent pitches that have been worked out for campsites in the Netherlands.
At the end of April, an interesting article was published in “De Juristenkrant” (a Flemish gazette addressed to legal professionals) by a group of legal researchers from KU Leuven. According to the authors, actively tracing and returning second-residents who already reside on the coast does not pass the test of legality and proportionality.
According to Article 7 of the Ministerial Decree of 18 March 2020, non-essential travel in Belgium was prohibited. Furthermore, Article 8(1) stipulated that persons had to stay at home and it was forbidden to be on public roads and in public places, except in case of necessity and for urgent reasons. In the absence of any transfer or movement, the authorities could not invoke Article 7 to track down second-inhabitants and expel them from their property. Moreover, by returning to the first place of residence, a person who has been sent back finds himself on the public highway without any necessary and urgent reasons and provokes a non-essential displacement. This is therefore in breach of Articles 7 and 8.
A second uncertainty concerns the interpretation of Article 8, which stipulated that persons had to stay at home. However, the term ‘home’ was not defined. In the absence of a definition in the Ministerial Decree, a second residence can also qualify as a ‘home’, at least in the broad sense of the word. The researchers also note that prior to the proclamation of the prohibition, citizens should have been given the choice of where they would prefer to stay, just as students were given the opportunity to do so. In any case, according to the lawyers, the rigorous way in which the measure was enforced could be questioned. In some municipalities, for example, large-scale police checks were set in motion, ‘home visits’ were carried out and drones with thermal cameras were deployed. According to the authors, the proportionality of this measure – which postulates second residents as if it were hunted game – is hard to find on all fronts.
The corona crisis prompted the government to take far-reaching and urgent measures in the context of our safety, health and well-being. No problem, is our first impression, given that these measures will hopefully help to fight and overcome the corona virus. However, some of these measures restrict our fundamental freedoms and even violate them in a blatant and inadmissible way. The sense of justice of the critical thinker begins to gnaw and rebel. Are we going to blindly observe and undergo all these measures, or do we still dare to question their proportionality and the motives behind them?
The last few days there has been a lot of commotion about the non-admission of second residents on the coast (and in the Ardennes). The local hospitality industry and traders are shouting murder and fire. It is said that it makes little sense to open shops when their main customers are not allowed to come. Holiday homes on the coast generate €1.5 billion in turnover, 1.1 billion of which is generated by second-income households. They account for 13.6 million of the 30 million overnight stays on the coast.