Right to adequate housing

What does this mean?

The right to adequate housing is relevant to the places where people actually live, whether owned or rented accommodation, or residential institutions such as care homes. It contains the following important elements:

Security of tenure –this means people should have a degree of security and legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats

Availability of facilities and infrastructure –this means an adequate house must contain the things essential for health, security, comfort and nutrition such as safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, site drainage and emergency services, etc.

Affordability –this means that household or financial costs must not be so high that other basic needs like food are under threat. Tenants should be protected by appropriate means against unreasonable rent levels or rent increases

Habitability –this means adequate housing must have adequate space and protect you from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threats to health

Accessibility –this means housing must be accessible to those entitled to it and disadvantaged groups such as the older people, children, people with disabilities etc should be ensured some degree of priority consideration

Location –this means adequate housing must be in a location which allows access to employment options, health-care services, schools, child-care centres and other social facilities. Also, housing should not be built on polluted sites or nearby to pollution sources that threaten the right to health of the inhabitants

Cultural adequacy –this means that the way housing is constructed, the building materials used and the policies supporting these must appropriately enable the expression of cultural identity and diversity of housing.

When could this be relevant?

  • Residents in care homes being threatened with eviction

  • Damp in people’s houses causing health problems

  • Accessing doctors surgeries

  • Housing requiring adaptation to met the needs of older people.