Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
The Right to Adequate Housing Toolkit
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The human right to adequate housing is more than just four walls and a roof. It is the right of every woman, man, youth and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity
Author: United Nations

Elements of the right to adequate housing

  • Legal security of tenure: Regardless of the type of tenure, all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats;

  • Affordability: Personal or household financial costs associated with housing should not threaten or compromise the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs (for example, food, education, access to health care);

  • Habitability: Adequate housing should provide for elements such as adequate space, protection from cold, damp, heat, rain, wind or other threats to health, structural hazards, and disease vectors;

  • Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure: Housing is not adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, etc.;

  • Accessibility: Housing is not adequate if the specific needs of disadvantaged and marginalized groups are not taken into account (such as the poor, people facing discrimination; persons with disabilities, victims of natural disasters);

  • Location: Adequate housing must allow access to employment options, health-care services, schools, child-care centres and other social facilities and should not be built on polluted sites nor in immediate proximity to pollution sources;

  • Cultural adequacy: Adequate housing should respect and take into account the expression of cultural identity and ways of life.

  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment n°4
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Indicators of the right to adequate housing

Here are illustrative examples of indicators to implement and measure elements of the right to adequate housing based on the Human Rights Indicators framework developed by OHCHR:

Mechanisms dealing with housing rights:

Special Procedures


Treaty Bodies




Finding recommendations of human rights mechanisms to States on the right to adequate housing, forced evictions and other issues: Universal Human Rights Index

Learn more on the right to adequate housing of specific groups 

Including Women, Indigenous peoples, Migrants,…

Learn more on important issues relating to the right to adequate housing

Including Forced eviction, Displacement, Homelessness, Poverty, …

Publications related to the Right to Housing

• Access to Land & Resources   • Advocacy / SRAH-UN   • Displacement   • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights   • Forced Evictions   • Global Themes   • Homeless    • Housing Alternatives   • Housing and Environment   • Housing and Land Rights / Right to Adequate Housing   • Housing and Land Rights Violations   • Housing and Target People   • Housing Crisis   • Housing Policies   • Indigenous    • Privatization   • Right to the City   • Sustainable Environment and Housing   • Tenants   • Women and Habitat   

Habitat International Coalition
General Secretariat