We met with the Deputy Mayor of London, Tom Copley, this summer, to discuss our ‘Dereliction of Duty’ report published earlier this year. The report explains how housing associations failed their leaseholders and shared owners trapped in the building safety crisis. During the meeting we also discussed a range of urgent issues – more on this soon.
We also requested a formal response from the Mayor of London to our report’s specific recommendations for public authorities.
Local governments such as the Greater London Authority (GLA) operating in housing are operating in an area that is a human right. As such, all of their activities must reflect that reality and seek the progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing for all.
The human right to adequate housing was recognised as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in international treaties in 1948 and 1966.
The right to adequate housing contains freedoms, including the right to choose one’s residence, to determine where to live and to freedom of movement.
For housing to be ‘adequate’, it must, at a minimum, meet several criteria, including:
- Affordability: Housing is not adequate if its cost threatens or compromises the occupants’ enjoyment of other human rights.
- Habitability: Housing is not adequate if it does not guarantee physical safety or provide adequate space, as well as protection against the cold, damp, heat, rain, wind, and other threats to health and structural hazards.
There are many recommendations in our report, and two are specific recommendations to public authorities:
- To provide mandatory training on the human right to adequate housing for civil servants.
- To hold housing associations to account when they breach residents’ human rights, including their right to adequate housing.
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