Private tenancy law is existentially affecting the daily lives of European citizens, as about one third of them depend on rental housing. That notwithstanding, it constitutes a nearly blank space in comparative and European law. This is due to its national character, its political nature and its embeddedness in widely diverging national housing policies, which ultimately reflect different welfare state models.
At the same time, however, different parts of EU law and policy do affect tenancy law significantly, albeit indirectly. Thus, EU social policy against poverty and social exclusion extends to selected issues of housing policy. EU non-discrimination rules extend to the provision of housing, and several consumer law directives apply to tenancy contracts, too. Moreover, if the Common Frame of Reference were one day to develop into an optional instrument, tenancy law issues now regulated by national general contract law might be covered as well - though without any legislator having co-ordinated the ensuing juxtaposition of European contract law and national tenancy regulation.
Against this background, this project sets out to provide the first large-scale comparative and European law survey of tenancy law. In a first step, it analyses national tenancy laws and their embeddedness in, and effects on, national housing policies and markets. In a second step, the effect of EU legislation on national housing policy in general and national tenancy law in particular will be analysed in a comparative perspective. In a third step, a proposal for a better co-ordinating role of the EU in tenancy law and housing policy, in particular through an OMC process developing common principles of good “tenancy regulation”, will be designed.
This research matches well several priorities of the Stockholm programme given tenancy law’s intimate relation to social human rights and a system of law and justice working for the benefit of European citizens, in particular vulnerable groups.
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