Last week, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights delivered its decision in the case of M.B.D. et al. v. Spain (Communication No. 5/2015). In its decision, the Committee emphasised that evictions should not render individuals or families homeless and that States party are under an obligation to provide suitable alternative accommodation to individuals or families that would be rendered homeless during an eviction. In addition, the Committee stated that these legal protections apply to people living in rental accommodation (whether public or private).
On this basis, the Committee found that Spain had violated the right to housing of the complainants by not taking all appropriate measures to the maximum of its available resources to guarantee suitable alternative accommodation after their eviction.
SERI’s co-founder and chairperson, Jackie Dugard, contributed to an intervention in the case as part of the International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net)’s Strategic Litigation Working Group. The intervention contained arguments based on international and comparative approaches to the right of access to adequate housing.
The Committee's decision comes after the South African Constitutional Court recently held that evictions that lead to homelessness are unlawful and that judges must make sure that people under threat of eviction are properly informed of their rights to contest eviction proceedings and claim alternative accommodation.