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Guiding Principles on Security of Tenure

The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has been mandated to provide practical guidance for the implementation of the right to adequate housing. For two years (since 2012) she has been working on security of tenure for the urban poor, to conclude with recommending a set of guiding principles to assist States and other relevant actors in addressing the current tenure insecurity crisis faced by the urban poor in an increasingly urbanized world.



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25th session –Human Rights Council

Guiding Principles on security of tenure for the urban poor A/HRC/25/54


First report, consultations and responses to Questionnaire

Security of tenure is a central component of the right to adequate housing. Any initiative related to housing, whether in the context of urban renewal, land management or other development-related projects, or in dealing with recovery after conflicts or disasters, will inevitably have tenure security implications. The lack of security of tenure - in law and practice - makes protection against forced eviction very difficult, leaving the most vulnerable, such as inhabitants of informal settlements, at risk of a range of human rights violations.

Human rights law mandates that all persons should possess a degree of security of tenure which guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats. But what are the precise obligations of States to ensure tenure security for their population, and in particular for the most disadvantaged? Are there any practices, policies, and measures to learn from to increase and ensure security of tenure?

Building on years of practice in the urban planning, housing policies and development fields, as well as human rights advocacy and litigation, the study aims to offer guidance on ways to address the variety of tenure issues arising worldwide, and to strengthen security of tenure, particularly for those who most need it.

2013 Mapping and framing security of tenure



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22nd session, March 2013

Mapping and framing security of tenure

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See also Special Rapporteur's statement at the 22nd session

Briefing and background papers:

These papers were submitted to the Special Rapporteur to help inform her study. These papers do not necessarily reflect the views of the Special Rapporteur.

2013 Questionnaire for Governments–study on security of tenure

This questionnaire is designed to obtain information from Governments for the Special Rapporteur’s ongoing study on security of tenure. Specifically, it will inform the Special Rapporteur’s final report to the Human Rights Council (to be presented at the 25th session in March 2014) and related guidance.

In 2013 the Special Rapporteur is continuing her study with a focus on security of tenure for urban poor and the most vulnerable, including questions related to informal settlements. The Special Rapporteur will present specific guidance on these issues in her final report to the Council, based notably on responses to the present questionnaire and further consultations with member States. The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in learning about practices that secure tenure for urban poor.

This questionnaire will also inform the Special Rapporteur’s report to the General Assembly’s 68th session. Her report will focus on policies and programmes aimed at promoting forms of tenure other than individual freehold (such as rental and communal forms of tenure, including, for example, subsidies for rental housing construction).

Submission received:

2013 Consultations and meetings convened by the Special Rapporteur:

The following consultations have been convened by the Special Rapporteur on this issue, or have been convened by partners:

  • Consultation on security of tenure, 6 September, Naples, Italy - List of participants
  • Expert Group Meeting on security of tenure, 22-23 October, Geneva, Switzerland - List of participants
  • Public consultation on security of tenure, 24 October, Geneva, Switzerland - List of participants
  • Regional consultation on security of tenure for the urban poor (Latin America region), Quito, 10 May 2013
  • Regional consultation on security of tenure for the urban poor (African Region), Johannesburg, 27-28 May 2013
  • Brasilian consultation on security of tenure, Sao Paulo, 17 June 2013
  • Regional consultation on security of tenure for the urban poor (European region), Geneva, 26 June 2013
  • Consultation security of tenure in Humanitarian Shelter, Geneva, 27 June 2013 (convened by NRC and IFRC)
  • Roundtable on security of tenure in Humanitarian Shelter, Geneva, 28 June 2013(convened by the Permanent Mission of the UK, DFID, NRC and IFRC)

Open Consultation- Draft recommendations on security of tenure for the urban poor, October

The Special Rapporteur is of the view that one of the key challenges to the full realization of the right to adequate housing is the lack of security of tenure, in particular for the urban poor. In consequence, she has prepared a draft set of recommendations and good practices – both from local and national levels- about security of tenure. The Special Rapporteur aims at providing practical solutions and guidance about this important element of the right to adequate housing. The Special Rapporteur invites all relevant stakeholders to submit comments to this draft as soon as possible, but preferably by 25 October 2013.