On October 10, Saturday, hundreds of people demonstrated in Luxembourg demanding dignified and affordable housing. As many as 18 organizations, including Mieterschutz, Save CoHousing in Esch and the Independent Luxembourg Trade Union Confederation (OGBL), organized a march from Glacis to Hôtel de la Poste, under the banner ‘Roof is a right’. They demanded that the government and the political class address the soaring housing crisis in Luxembourg. Left wing groups, including the Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) and Déi Lénk (The Left), also joined the march and expressed their solidarity.
Luxembourg is witnessing a major increase in housing prices and rents. The COVID-19 crisis and local regulations and restrictions on cohabitation and subletting have added to the distress of tenants. According to a EuroStat news release on July 8, house prices in the European Union (EU) are up by 5.5% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. As per the report, the highest rise in house prices was recorded in Luxembourg (+13.3%), Poland (+10.9%) and Slovakia (+9.7%).
Trade Union OGBL said that the housing crisis is affecting a large number of residents, threatening social peace and blocking future prospects of a growing part of the population. “An increasingly important part of our population, which contributes to the wealth of our country, and which ensures its functioning, are pushed beyond the borders while their children and their families are fully citizens of this country which no longer offers them prospects or capacity to still make plans,” said OGBL.
The Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) demanded that the state construct a rental park with 50,000 dwellings to remedy the current situation. It also called for limiting rents in the public rental park to 10% of the tenants’ income, as well as housing area assistance for those living in private rental parks. In addition, the government must create a public reserve of building land, reform the rent lease law to substantially reduce the price per square meter of all homes built before 1960 and of living spaces less than 100 square meters, and create communal housing services, the party said.
Earlier, on September 26, progressive community rights groups and leftists had demonstrated in Esch-sur-Alzette, protesting a controversial decision by the municipality of Esch to regulate subletting of rented apartments. Déi Lénk had also called for a law to protect tenants from the rampant speculation in the real estate market following several reports indicating an alarming rise in housing rents in Luxembourg in 2019.