On 17 May 2018, the Royal Decree of 23 April 2018 amending the Royal Decree of 13 July 2014 regarding regulated real estate companies has been published in the Official Gazette. A Eubelius team, managed by Lars Van Bever and Tim Van Moorhem, was closely involved in the drafting of the Royal Decree.
The amendment of the Royal Decree of 13 July 2014 regarding regulated real estate companies (the "B-REIT RD") completes the broadening of the regulatory framework in which regulated real estate companies ("REITs") perform their activities.
The B-REIT RD has been amended to align it with the Act of 12 May 2014 regarding regulated real estate companies (the "B-REIT Act") amended by the Act of 22 October 2017. The changes in the regulatory framework were needed to realise three objectives. First of all, the intention was to encourage collaborations between REITs as well as the collaborations between REITs and other market players. Secondly, the authorised activities (and thus the asset classes in which REITs can invest) are expanded to include both the infrastructure sector (e.g. through PPP – Public-Private Partnership) and the energy sector (e.g. renewable energy). Finally, a new type of REIT is introduced, the "social REIT", which puts real estate at the disposal of the education and healthcare sectors.
The Royal Decree opens the share ownership of institutional regulated real estate companies ("institutional REITs") to natural persons under certain conditions. This allows REITs and natural persons to directly invest together in a company which has the same tax status as the REIT. A classic example is the situation in which the capital of a large family real estate company is opened to a public REIT.
Finally, the "notorious" articles 18 to 22 of the B-REIT RD have been abolished. These provisions provided for, amongst other things, a requirement of (at least indirect) control by the REIT in joint ventures and an obligation to include call and/or put options in favour of the REIT in case of deadlock situations, in which case the sale price of the shares must be determined by a valuation expert. These obligations constituted a blocking factor in forming joint ventures between REITs and other market players in the past.
Should you have any questions about this amendment of the law, please do not hesitate to contact us.