De facto association

De facto associations pursue a general-interest objective

The term “de facto association” (association de fait/feitelijke vereniging) is used when two or more people come together to pursue a general-interest objective (a sports club, for example). Unlike an ASBL/VZW, a de facto association does not have legal personality: it is not considered as having rights and obligations. This lack of legal personality has several implications:

  • The de facto association cannot acquire rights to movable or immovable property.
  • It cannot enter into contracts.
  • Its members are personally liable for the association’s debts.

The members of a de facto association are bound by co-ownership. This applies to all property owned in connection with the association’s purpose.

Co-ownership of property

The members of a de facto association have unlimited liability for the association’s debts. This liability involves their personal property.

Unlike in the case of joint and several liability, individual members of a de facto association are only liable for their share in any debts the association may have.


There are no legal provisions stipulating a minimum number of directors for a de facto association. The rules governing the management of a de facto association are set out in the association’s articles of association. If the articles of association say nothing about management, the rules of the mandate (mandat/lastgeving) apply.

Legal and administrative obligations

There are no legal and administrative obligations for this type of association.