Although housing and housing rights as such are not formally a European Union competence, there are still several tools at EU level which relate in one way or another to the right to housing. These include the:




The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union (EU) citizens and residents into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. However, its legal status was uncertain and it did not have full legal effect until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009.
Under the Charter, the European Union must act and legislate consistently with the Charter and the EU's courts will strike down legislation adopted by the EU's institutions that contravenes it. The Charter applies to the Institutions of the European Union, and its member states but only when the latter are opposing the Charter by implementing EU law. The Charter does not extend the competences of the EU.

Article 34 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, is devoted to social security and social assistance. Paragraph 3 reads:

3. In order to combat social exclusion and poverty, the Union recognises and respects the right to social and housing assistance so as to ensure a decent existence for all those who lack sufficient resources, in accordance with the rules laid down by Community law and national laws and practices.

It has been signed and ratified by all EU Member States.

The ECJ was given the opportunity to rule on this article for the first and only time in the Kamberaj case. It held that housing allowance could not be reduced in a discriminatory way for non-EU nationals.



The Treaty of the European Union is an international treaty between the European Union (EU) member states which sets out the EU's constitutional basis. It established the various EU institutions together with their remit, procedures and objectives. The EU can only act within the competences granted to it through this treaty and amendment to the treaty requires the agreement and ratification (according to their national procedures) of every single signatory.

As far as fundamental rights are concerned, Article 6 of the Treaty of the European Union states that: 

1. The Union is founded on the principle of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.

2. The Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law.

3. The Union shall respect the national identities of its Member States.

4. The Union shall provide itself the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies.




Since its creation, the European Union (EU) has regarded the fight against discrimination as one of its most pressing missions. Although discrimination, whether direct or indirect, is considered a crime under European law, individuals throughout Europe are prevented on a daily basis from living their social or professional life to the full because of random criteria. For several years the emphasis was placed on preventing discrimination on grounds of nationality or gender. Since 1999, the EU's powers have expanded to include action against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. In this area more than any other, civil society organisations act as essential intermediaries between citizens and the European institutions.


You may find a list of all EU anti-discrimination legislation and activities by clicking here




The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is a body of the European Union established in 2007, which builds on the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The objective of the FRA is to provide the relevant institutions and authorities of the Community and its Member States when implementing Community law with assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights. The FRA cooperates with national and international bodies and organisations, in particular with the Council of Europe. It also works closely with civil society organisations.


  • The role of the European Courtof Justice in developing Housing Rights
  • How does the preliminary ruling work?


EU Housing Rights