Report on the financialization of housing and the right to adequate housing

17 January 2017
Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha
To the Human Rights Council at its 34th session (27 February-24 March 2017)


This report focuses on the “financialization” of housing and its impact on human rights. It examines structural changes in recent years whereby massive amounts of global capital have been invested in housing as a commodity, as a means of accumulating wealth.

The report looks at the effect of those historic changes on the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing and outlines an appropriate human rights framework for States to address them. It examines the role of domestic and international law in that sphere, and considers the application of principles of business and human rights.

See the full report (A/HRC/34/51) in all UN languages.

Learn more about the financialization of housing.


The report concludes with a review of policy responses by States to the financialization of housing. It provides recommendations for more coherent and effective strategies to ensure that the actions of global financial institutions and actors are consistent with ensuring access to housing for all by 2030.

The Special Rapporteur suggests that States redefine their relationship with private investors and financial firms, so that they may they reclaim housing as a social good and ensure the human right to a place to live in security and dignity.


The Special Rapporteur recommends that:

  • New initiatives be developed in order to bridge the worlds of corporate and government finance, housing, planning and human rights;
  • Strategies be developed to achieve target 11.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda include a full range of taxation, regulatory and planning measures;
  • Trade and investment treaties recognize the paramountcy of human rights, including the right to housing;
  • Business and human rights guidelines, on a priority basis, be developed specifically for financial actors operating in the housing system;
  • States review all laws and policies related to foreclosure, indebtedness and housing, to ensure consistency with the right to adequate housing;
  • States ensure that courts, tribunals and human rights institutions recognize and apply the paramountcy of human rights; and
  • International, regional and national human rights bodies devote more attention to the issue of financialization, and clarify it for States.