Société simple: key features and next steps

This post summarises the information that we received from the notary during the last two meetings on the so-called “société simple”. Feel free to add more detailed notes in this thread if you like.

1. Key features of a société simple

  • A société simple (NL “maatschap”) is a bit like a formalised partnership between several people. It acts in the interest of its partners, but does not seek to make a profit.

  • Partners are financially responsible for each other (NL “onverdeeldheid”). So if one of the partners can’t pay their share of an incoming bill, the other partners will have to step up.

    Better explained in French (

“Les associés sont chacun indéfiniment et solidairement responsables. Cela signifie que leur patrimoine privé n’est pas protégé et que les éventuels créanciers de la société simple peuvent prétendre de manière illimitée à ce patrimoine privé pour apurer une dette.”

  • A société simple is managed by a “Collège”, which manages de funds, can sign contracts and should follow up the construction site.

  • A société is governed by its statutes. These don’t need to be published.

  • A société simple does not have to publish its annual financial results.

  • A société simple has a company number (“numéro d’entreprise”), but does not have legal personality.

  • The “Loi Breyne” (“Apartments Law”) does not apply to sociétés simples because they don’t have legal personality.

2. Advantages of a société simple when building a cohousing

  • The key advantage is that third parties get to deal with the société simple, instead of having to deal with 20-30 households. More importantly, third parties get a financial guarantee, because all the partners who are a member of the société simple are financially responsible for each other.

  • Another advantage is that it raises the stakes for Full Members. Once the société simple will be in place, Full Members will be liable for all of the société simple’s debts until a new Full Member has come in to take over the share of the outgoing Full Member.

3. Next steps

  • The notary will send us a standard document that he offers to all his beginning groups. From what I understand from it, this document needs to be filled in by each (candidate) Full Member, and sets out some administrative details, some financial details and the commitments that will be expected. The document may need some tweaking for The Reef, to align it with our confesseurs process (ping @reef-finance)

  • The notary will send us a first draft of the statutes for our société simple.

4. More information