UN Launches Scathing Attack on Government Housing Policy

29 Mar 2019

UN Special Rapporteur UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Leilani Farha, with a copy of the Congress Charter for Housing Rights

The United Nations has launched a scathing attack on government housing policy and its response to the current housing emergency. In a damning indictment of the official response, Ms Leilani Farha - the UN Special Rapporteur on Hosuing - has written directly to the government highlighting how current policy undermines 'housing as a human right' and condemning the huge levels of global capital invested in the sector, which has led to the 'financialisation  of housing'. 

"We are writing to express our concern with respect to your Government’s practice of adopting laws and policies which treat housing as a commodity and undermine the enjoyment of housing as a human right. We invite you to reflect on the following concerns with a view to developing a human rights based response.

"Our chief concern lies with those laws and policies which have allowed unprecedented amounts of global capital to be invested in housing as security for financial instruments that are traded on global markets, and as a means of accumulating wealth.

"This expanding role and unprecedented dominance of unregulated financial markets and corporations in the housing sector is now generally referred to as the 'financialization of housing' and it is having devastating consequences for tenants.

"Contrary to international human rights obligations, investment in housing in the Republic of Ireland has disconnected housing from its core social purpose of providing people with a place to live in with security and dignity."