In its Collective Complaint against France (39/2006) in November 2006, FEANTSA alleged violations by France of the Revised Social Charter’s section on the right to housing (Article 31).

Article 31 contains three specific obligations: to promote access to adequate housing, to prevent, reduce and gradually eliminate homelessness and to make housing affordable for those without adequate resources. FEANTSA alleged numerous violations of these obligations.

It argued specifically that despite having improved the quality of housing for the majority of the population in France during the last 30 years, the country had effectively failed to implement the right to housing for all, and in particular in meeting the housing needs of the most vulnerable.

The Complaint reviewed in detail the state of play in France, in terms of international obligations, internal legislation, existing public policies and facts from both official and independent sources.

This was a crosscutting strategy, which covered both very specific issues and more general arguments. The Complaint also insisted that the right to housing represents a precondition to the exercise and expression of other fundamental rights and to full participation in society, in accordance with FEANTSA’s commitment to a rights-based approach to social justice.

In June 2008, the ECSR found six violations of Article 31 by France. These violations concerned, as established in the ESCR’s decision on the merits of the Complaint:

(...) “insufficient progress as regards the eradication of substandard housing and lack of proper amenities of a large number of households ; 
(...)"of unsatisfactory implementation of the legislation on the prevention of evictions and the lack of measures to provide rehousing solutions for evicted families ;

(...)"that measures currently in place to reduce the number of homeless are insufficient, both in quantitative and qualitative terms;

(...)"of insufficient supply of social housing accessible to low-income groups ;

(...)"of the malfunctioning of the social housing allocation system, and the related remedies ;

(...)"on the grounds of deficient implementation of legislation on stopping places for Travellers." (in conjunction with Article E).

The ESCR’s Decision clarified this point on housing legislation: public policies should be evaluated on how far they reach the objectives for which they are set up. What is relevant is not the effort undertaken, but the result of these efforts. The Resolution issued in July 2008 by the Committee of Ministers acknowledged the deficiencies of the French system and demonstrated the Council’s willingness to pursue states who fail to meet Social Treaty obligations.

Council of Europe - Committee of Social Rights - European Social Charter
Article 31 - Right to housing
Right to housing