FEANTSA’s complaint against Slovenia built on the experienced gained from successfully filing a housing-based Complaint against France two years earlier (FEANTSA v. FRANCE, CC39/2006).
The Slovenian Complaint was more specific: it targeted legislation that would have dramatically destabilized the housing security of 13.000 tenants. Essentially, the legislation would have downgraded the protections of tenets against the possibility of having their apartments expropriated by former occupiers. At the same time, FEANTSA expanded the grounds for its complaint beyond Article 31, which guarantees the right to housing. In the Slovenia Complaint, FEANTSA argued that the Slovenian legislation violated Article 31, Article E (right to non-discriminatory treatment) and Article 16 (right to a family life and access to family housing).
If in its France Complaint FEANTSA demonstrated the possibility of using the Social Treaties to provoke the condemnation of a State’s general inaction in relation to housing, the Slovenia Complaint showed that it was possible to use Complaints to expose the faults of individual pieces of legislation.
In February 2010, the ECSR published its Decision on the Merits of FEANTSA’s complaint. In their main findings, the ESCR held that:
• the precarious position of sitting tenants due to a combination of:
-. insufficient measures for the acquisition of or access to substitute flats;
-. the evolution of occupancy rules;
-. and increases in rent;
• the failure to assess affordability of housing based on the income of those who lack adequate resources;
• the discriminatory treatment towards sitting tenants compared to other former holders of the Housing right.
Following the publication of the ESCR’s Decision on the Merits of the Complaint, two FEANTSA members, Mark Uhry and Tanja Šarec submitted analyses of the rulings that explained the impact on housing rights of the Council of Europe’s decision:
[...] the reflex being seen across Europe to make deep cuts in accrued social gains (pension reforms hitting first private-sector employees, then public employees, etc.) is prima facie unlawful. Again, this important development will have to be incorporated in national regulations.
[...] Instead of improving, the situation of this category deteriorated. Their position of holders of pre-transition housing right was forcibly changed into that of tenants. By having failed, and by continuously failing, to make it possible for this category of population to improve their housing situation, the national authorities encroached on their right to housing.