The EU should enforce minimum standards in social housing and put restrictions on the proliferation of short-term holiday rentals to protect communities affected by high property prices and over-tourism.
Affordable and adequate housing is a human right recognised in EU and international law. Despite that, access to housing continues to be an enormous problem in many parts of the EU, with house prices having risen by more than 30% since 2015. This problem is compounded by the fact that in many areas – especially scenic rural regions already facing economic difficulties – housing is treated as a profitable investment with little regard for local needs. Short-term holiday rentals and services such as AirBnB are putting further pressure on vulnerable communities, driving up prices to the extent that locals are forced to leave. By restricting speculative property investments, providing better access to social housing, building new and greener homes, and protecting the status of local residents, EU member states can turn affordable and adequate housing into a realistic prospect for all Europe’s citizens.