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All individuals, regardless of whether they are accommodated in social housing, the private rented sector, are home owners or landlords, have human rights related to housing. The obligations of the NICS towards the different stakeholders will, however, differ depending on the circumstances.


The principal right is the right to adequate housing, which is contained in the right to an adequate standard of living. But other human rights can also be engaged such as:

  • Rights to private and family life

  • Protection of property

  • Right to health

Relevant to harassment or eviction:

  • Right to freedom of association for tenants and other community based groups 

  • Right to security of person 

  • Right to a fair hearing 

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has developed a framework which helps better understand the different 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.



Personal or household financial costs associated with housing should not negatively impact the enjoyment of other basic rights, for example, food, education, and access to healthcare. 



This refers to 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

Tenants must have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, etc.



The specific needs of disadvantaged and marginalised groups must be taken into account (such as the poor, people facing discrimination; persons with disabilities etc).



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 consider the expressions of cultural identity and ways of life.


Rights Engaged

Right to an adequate standard of living
  • ICESCR, Art 11
  • UNCEDAW, Art 14(2)(h)
  • UNCRPD, Art 28
  • UNCRC, Art 27

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Right to freedom of association
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 11
  • ICCPR, Arts 21, 22
  • ICESCR, Art 8
  • UNCRC, Art 15 

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Right to private and family life
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 8
  • ICCPR, Art 17
  • UNCRPD, Arts 22, 23, 31
  • UNCRC, Art 16

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Right to a fair trial
  • ECHR/HRA, Arts 6, 7
  • ICCPR, Arts 14, 15
  • UNCRC, Art 12(2)

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Protection of property
  • ECHR/HRA, Prot 1 Art 1
Right to security of person
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 5
  • ICCPR, Art 9
  • UNCRPD, Art 14
Right to participation
  • ICCPR, Art 25
  • ICESCR, Arts 13(1), 15(1)
  • UNCEDAW, Arts 7, 8, 13(c), 14(2)
  • ICERD, Art 5(e)(vi)
  • UNCRC, Arts 12, 31
  • UNCRPD, Arts 3(c), 4(3), 9, 29, 30