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Housing policy: the comprehensive approach and the importance of security of tenure

Housing Europe at Habitat III

Quito, Ecuador, 20 October 2016 | Published in Urban

The German Federal Ministry For The Environment Nature Conservation Building And Nuclear Safety organised within the framework of Habitat III an international conference dedicated to the importance of tenure security. The event was chaired by the Housing Europe Urban Affairs Committee Chair, Dr. Özgür Öner.

The Executive Director of the UNECE, Christian Friisbach and the Secretary of State, Günther Adler on behalf of the German Ministry discussed the integrative approaches of urban development and the German model with high-ranking speakers and heads of states as well as government officials of the UN member states.

The event highlighted the fact that not only for countries with strong urbanization and emerging nations, affordable housing is a key question and basis for economic and social development. Mainly stability of the law and legal protection of tenants and private equity are an important fundament for social security and development. The German approach shows how housing and urban development policies can be combined to create and secure this important fundament. Especially law and financial structures for the rental market lead to a fair supply with homes – either as tenant or owner. 

Özgür had the chance to also present the work of Housing Europe on these issues, stressing that tenancy law is affecting the daily lives of European citizens with about one third of them depending on rental housing. Therefore, residential renting plays a crucial role in providing flexible and affordable housing for the healthy functioning of national labour markets and welfare states.

At the same time, numerous European households face serious trouble financing their housing costs due to unbalanced tenure structures: social housing has been shrinking, owning a home is easily rendered unaffordable at the impact of financial crises; while residential renting cannot properly play its role as a reliable alternative without the appropriate legal environment.