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Social Housing in Europe


Brussels, 27 March 2010 | Published in Research

What is social housing?

In Luxemburg social housing is low cost housing provided both for rent and for sale to people with low income. Social rental housing represents 2% of the total housing stock in the country.

Who provides social housing?

Social housing providers are public developers. The most important is the Fonds pour le developpement du logement et l’habitat, commonly referred to as Fonds du Logement (Housing Fund), which manages the largest social rental stock in Luxembourg. The Fund is an autonomous public body established by a law on housing aid that was introduced on 25 February 1979. It acts under the supervision of the Housing Ministry and its competences include the construction of low-cost housing, the purchase and development of building sites, and the renovation of housing buildings.

The second provider is the Société Nationale des Habitations à Bon Marché (National Affordable Housing Company), a joint stock company created in 1919, whose shareholders are the State, some municipalities and some public institutions. Its activities include construction, land purchase, the elaboration of development plans, drawing up and realization of infrastructures for land development. It provides mainly affordable housing for home ownership.

The third actor is represented by the municipal governments the main towns and cities, which provide building sites and housing for rent as well as for access to ownership.

How is social housing financed?

For rental housing, state subsidies finance up to 70% of the construction cost. Rents are set and regularly updated on the basis of the tenant household’s income. In the case of affordable housing for sale, public support- 50% of study and infrastructure costs- is available under the condition that at least 60% of the homebuyers are people who qualify to obtain a construction subsidy from the state based on the household income. Furthermore, to guarantee social mix, at least 10% of the dwellings in each new development must be social rental housing.

Who can access social housing?

Households which do not own, use or have a right to occupy a dwelling and whose income is below certain limits determined by law are eligible for social housing.