Adequate Conditions

While the definition of "adequacy" with regard to housing is influenced by social, economic, cultural, climatic, ecological, and other factors, certain aspects of the right are applicable in any context. These are:

  • Legal security of tenure. Security of tenure means that all people in any living arrangement possess a degree of security against forced eviction, harassment, or other threats. States are obliged to confer this security legally.
  • Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure. To ensure the health, security, comfort, and nutrition of its occupants, an adequate house should have sustainable access to natural and common resources, safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, site drainage and emergency services.
  • Affordability. Affordable housing is housing for which the associated financial costs are at a level that does not threaten other basic needs. States should take steps to ensure that housing costs are proportionate to overall income levels, establish subsidies for those unable to acquire affordable housing, and protect tenants against unreasonable rent levels or increases. In societies where housing is built chiefly out of natural materials, states should help ensure the availability of those materials.
  • Habitability. Habitable housing provides the occupants with adequate space, physical security, shelter from weather, and protection from threats to health like structural hazards and disease.
  • Accessibility. Adequate housing must be accessible to those entitled to it. This includes all disadvantaged groups of society, who may have special housing needs that require extra consideration.
  • Location. The location of adequate housing, whether urban or rural, must permit access to employment opportunities, health care, schools, child care and other social facilities. To protect the right to health of the occupants, housing must also be separated from polluted sites or pollution sources.
  • Cultural adequacy. The way housing is built, the materials used, and the policies supporting these must facilitate cultural expression and housing diversity. The development and modernization of housing in general should maintain the cultural dimensions of housing while still ensuring modern technological facilities, among other things (paragraph 8).


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