Can Housing Rights Be Applied to Modern Housing Systems?
National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) - School of Law
January 20, 2010
International Journal of Law of the Built Environment, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 103-117, 2010
The purpose of this paper is to outline and examine the growing corpus of housing rights and assess their relevance and applicability to complex contemporary housing systems across the world. The paper sets out the principal instruments and commentaries on housing rights developed by the United Nations, regional and other bodies. It assesses their relevance in the context of contemporary analysis of housing systems, organized and directed by networks of legal and other professionals within particular domains. Housing rights instruments are accepted by all States across the world at the level of international law, national constitutions and laws. The findings suggest that there are significant gaps in the international law conception and framework of housing rights, and indeed, human rights generally, which create major obstacles for the effective implementation of these rights. There is a preoccupation with one element of housing systems, that of subsidized or social housing. However, effective housing rights implementation requires application at meso-, micro- and macro-levels of modern, dynamic housing systems as a whole. Epistemic communities of professionals develop and shape housing law and policy within these domains. The housing rights paradigm must be further fashioned for effective translation into contemporary housing systems. The development of housing rights precedents, both within international and national law, is leading to a wide and diffuse corpus of legislation and case law. More research is needed on specific examples of effective coupling between housing rights and elements of housing systems. This paper offers housing policv-makers and lawyers an avenue into the extensive jurisprudence and writings on housing rights, which will inevitably become part of the lexicon of housing law across the world. It also highlights the limitations of housing rights implementation, but offers some new perspectives on more effective application of these rights.
Keywords: Housing Rights, Housing, International Law, United Nations, Council of Europe
JEL Classification: K10, K33, L50, O20, R14
Date posted: January 21, 2011