TENLAW, an ambitious EU FP7 funded project aiming to set out a comparative framework for tenancy law in Europe, comes to a close with its final project conference held in 17-18 September in Budapest, Hungary.
Detailed information on the project TENLAW – Tenancy Law and Housing Policy in Multi-level Europe – funded under EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), is available on the project’s website; alongside the already available 33 national reports, as well as the tenants’ rights Brochures, a set of more accessible national publications intended for the general public. The project has inspired a number of books, book sections and publications in peer reviewed journals, the list of which is also available on the project website.
Tenancy law is existentially affecting the daily lives of European citizens: about one third of them depend on rental housing, therefore residential renting plays a crucial role in providing flexible and affordable housing for the healthy functioning of national labour markets and welfare states. At the same time, numerous European households face serious trouble financing their housing costs due to unbalanced tenure structures: social housing has been shrinking, owning a home is easily rendered unaffordable at the impact of financial crises; while residential renting cannot properly play its role as a reliable alternative without the appropriate legal environment. The appropriate regulation of residential renting affects not only the everyday life of European citizens, but also options for domestic mobility, and also a fundamental value of the EU, namely the free circulation of labour.
Despite its crucial European role, tenancy law remains a nearly blank space in comparative and European law 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, different parts of EU law and policy do affect tenancy law significantly, albeit indirectly. Furthermore, the possibility exists that a future optional instrument of contract law developed from the Common Frame of Reference could also cover tenancy law issues now regulated by general contract law, although no legislator would have coordinated the resulting confluence of European tenancy law and national tenancy regulation.
Against this background, TENLAW has set out to provide the first large-scale comparative and survey and analysis of European tenancy law. In the first phase of the project, mixed research teams of legal experts and social scientists prepared in-depth analyses of 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 was analysed in a comparative perspective. In the final phase, a proposal for a more effective co-ordinating role of the EU in tenancy law and housing policy was designed, in particular through an OMC process developing common principles of good ”tenancy regulation”.
Among others, project participants will include conference participants will include high level representatives of the European Commission, representatives of various European Ministries of Justice, courts, universities and research institutes, as well as CECODHAS Housing Europe, Habitat for Humanity EMEA, and International Union of Tenants.