IUT common Statement - congress October 2016
"The rent is too high:
We need a 21st century rent control"
The Importance of Affordable Rental Housing, by
IUT President Sven Bergenstråhle, 2016
An essay about
housing policy from a tenant’s point of view, by Sven Bergenstråhle,
IUT President, 2015
Eviction is not the
solution! People need roofs over their heads!
- IUT in CHI Scottish Housing
Matters, summer 2014
Tenant Empowerment (Sw. Boinflytande) theme of Tenant´s Day 2014
- England: 3-year tenancies is nothing to fear, says IUT.
- Czech Rep: Pražské zasedání
výkonného výboru mezinárodni unioe nájemníků (IUT). eDomes Červen 2014
- Sweden: Disagreements about
Hem & Hyra May
droit au logement pour tous, un enjeu national mais aussi
- The NL: De Dutch case blijft onverminderd van belang voor heel Europa
Market rents do not result in increased construction,
Market rents do not result in increased construction, ETC
Tenure neutrality also in transition countries, says
IUT President Bergenstråhle, speaking at conference on
Emerging Private Rental Sector in
Budapest Sept 12-14
- IUT and the 'French case', Housing Mattters,
- IUT in the Danish tenant magazine Vi Lejer
IUT Statutes, ENG
Statutes de IUT, FR
Statuten für die IUT
IUT is a Non Governmental Organisation,
founded in 1926 in Zürich, Switzerland, with
the purpose of safeguarding the interests of
tenants. IUT is a non-party political
organisation, working along democratic lines.
Today IUT has got 66 member
associations in 45 countries.
List of IUT members, by
IUT is in consultative status with the UN
Economic and Social Council.
IUT has NGO participatory status with the
Council of Europe, Strasbourg France.
-Info in English
-Info in French
The IUT Board meets twice a year. Congress
is every third year.
Деятельность международного союза квартиросъемщиков
(About IUT, in Russian)
The objectives include:
- Co-operation between tenants through
- Aiming to realise the right of everyone,
both to good housing, and to a sound and
healthy residential environment, to an
affordably and fair rent.
- Residential/tenants democracy and a
right to participation
- No discrimination with regard to sex,
racial, ethnic and religious grounds
- Secure tenure
- The right to organise
The activities of IUT include;
- Information through Internet, website
The Global Tenant; www.iut.nu
- The Global Tenant magazine is published quarterly, English and
- Partnership with UN agencies, such as UN
Economic Commission for Europe, ECE, and
UN Center for Human Settlements - Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Partnership with the ENHR - European Network for Housing Research and
APNHR - Asia-Pacific Network for Housing Research.
- Partnership in the EU network, European Housing Forum, EHF, Brussels
IUT considers housing as one of the
fundamental rights in society, and therefore
needs to be addressed locally, nationally and
internationally. Adequate housing is also one
of the safeguards for peace and security in
Europe and elsewhere in the world.
Homelessness is one of the major ingredients for
IUT and its members promote the Tenants' Charter, available in 10 languages
First version of the Tenants' Charter was
adopted at the IUT Council meeting in Bergen,
Norway June 6, 1974.
The second version was adopted by the IUT Congress
The Tenant's Charter is available in 10 languages:
of Social Housing
(adopted May 4 2005)
“Social housing is sustainable housing with non-profit rents, or/and rents
according to the self cost principle and/or where the access is controlled
by the existence of allocation rules favouring households that have
difficulties in finding accommodation in the market. “
Owercrowding, Sweden 1920´s
IUT starts up in the 1920´s
In July 1924 a letter
arrives from Mr Robert Hoffmayr at the
Mietervereinigung Österreichs (MVÖ) in
Vienna, addressed to Professor C.G.
Bergman, board member of the Swedish
National Tenants Association. Mr Hoffmayr
describes the MVÖ with already over
200 000 members and then he sets out his
intention to form an international
organisation for tenant associations.
left: R.Hoffmayr, Dr Wirth and Mr Kolbe
He explains that the property owners in
Europe had just recently, in Paris, formed
the European Property Owners Federation.
The tenant’s rights need to be protected
and there is need for a strong alliance
between European tenants.
Mr Hoffmeyr suggests meeting in Vienna in
October 1924, but the meeting is
A German initiative
Meanwhile, Mr Ramdohr the vice chairman of
the German tenant association, Reichsbund
Deutscher Mieter, in Berlin, sets out for
a study trip to Oslo, Norway, for the
purpose of studying the municipal
institutions. Also in Oslo, he is being
informed by the representative of the
National Association of Norwegian
Co-operatives, about the existence of the
tenants association in Sweden.
In a letter
addressed to the Swedish Union of Tenants
in May 1925, Mr Ramdohr describes the very
difficult housing situation in Germany
after the war, due partly to the extorted
peace agreement in Versailles in 1918.
Also he puts much of the blame on greedy
landlord s and property owners, who profit
by the hard times. Very little housing has
been constructed in Germany since 1914,
and the government does not seem to pay
much attention to housing and most members
of the parliament (Reichstag) most often
run the errands of the landlords.
Mr Ramdohr continues, the Reichsbund
Deutscher Mieter has succeeded in bringing
in new laws that protects the tenants from
ruthless evictions and unjustified rent
The purpose of this letter is also to find
out whether there is a possibility for an
exchange of information, between the
Swedish and German organisation - and also
to explore any possible interest in
forming an international organisation of
Later the same year Mr Ramdohr gets in
touch with friends at the
Mietervereinigung MVÖ in Vienna. These
contacts, and contacts with the Swiss
tenants organisation, results in setting
the dates and venue for the first
international tenant congress, May 21-24
1926, in Zürich , Switzerland.
League of Tenants
It is highly possible
that the Austrian delegation informed the
other delegates about the first
International Urban Planning Conference in
Vienna when the ten delegations met in Zürich on May 21st to form
international cooperation. Vienna was the
model city when it came to new innovative
housing planning for the “masses”. The
already powerful Austrian organisation was
elected as the office for the
international secretariat. Dr Carl Wirth
of Zürich was elected as chairman. A first
set of statutes, two pages, was also
Delegates to the first
known IUT Assembly, in Zürich 1926
On the eve of May 23 1926, the
following resolution was adopted:
The first international congress of tenant
associations determines, as a conclusion
of the conference, with satisfaction that
the work to unite the tenants associations
of all countries was successful, and thus
fighting organisation ( Kampforgansation)
The assembled representatives of the
European countries hereby promise to work
for, within the Union of International
Tenant Associations, the improvement of
housing (Wohningskultur), and for the
introduction of social rent, and housing
legislation and for a prompt promotion of
municipal and jointly owned housing.
selfish and harmful speculative landlords
must be stopped.
The Congress expects the political parties
in the respective governments that they
should support, in the interest of the
good housing for all, the activities of
the Union of International Tenants
A message was sent to all European tenants,
which ended with the words:
Tenants of Europe! For the success of our
work, the active support of every tenant
is absolutely necessary. The solidarity
requires that each tenant joins its
national tenant association. Only the
strong union of all tenants guarantees a
successful fight against, even though
small at number, powerful and influential
Tenants in Europe – Unite!
Tentative efforts to
get the League going
In July 1927, the newly formed
organisation met again in Paris at the
office of the Union Confédéral des
Locataires de France et des Colonies,
in rue St. Antoine 16.
League of Tenants then again met in Prague
in 1929, with representation from the
tenants associations in Germany (Dresden
and Berlin), France, Austria, Sweden,
Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. According
to sparse correspondence after the
conference in Prague, there does not seem
to have been much activity in the League
of Tenants from 1929 to 1934.
The Swedish, Austrian
and German tenant associations managed to
get together again in 1931, in connection
with an International Housing Congress in
Clouds build up in the
Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in March 1934 and
in May the Swedish Union of Tenants receives a letter from the Bund
Deutscher Mietervereine in Dresden, saying that they no longer wish to
receive the Swedish magazine The Tenant. The most recent issue had
contained very strong anti Nazi sentiments, including an illustration of
four crossed executioner's axes, dripping with blood – all in shape of a
In April 1939 there is correspondence between Paris and Stockholm
regarding the possibility of organising an international conference of
tenant associations…but it now too late.
In September Hitler attacks Poland and World War II is a fact.
All in all, from 1926 to 1939 the International League
of Tenants began the important work of international co-operation,
solidarity and fact finding. Some rent comparing studies were made, and
national housing policies were compared and discussed.
It took some time
after the War to refresh the memories of
the International League of Tenants. Most
of Europe’s urban centres were in ruins,
particularly the cities and towns with a
large percentage of municipal rental
housing like in Austria and Germany.
penny/night) tenement house 1950´s , Birmingham England
By 1955 the Austrian
Tenants´ Union, MVÖ, had well recovered
under the leadership of National
Councillor Rudolf Marchner. The MVÖ was
planning a congress in Vienna and
invitations had been sent out to European
tenant associations. Representatives from
the tenant associations in Sweden,
Denmark, West-Germany and Switzerland
responded to the invitation.
official congress was over the five
delegations met to discuss the revival of
an international tenant association. A
first temporarily secretariat was
established in Vienna. Sweden was asked to
get hold of the associations in Finland
and Norway, and to possibly arrange a
Nordic tenant conference.
This Nordic conference was accomplished in Malmö
on June 30 in 1956, attended also by the
Austrian and German organisations. A
decision was made to locate the
Secretariat in Stockholm.
The International Tenants´ Union,
ITU, as the organisation was now mostly
being referred to, commissioned the
Swedish Union of Tenants, SUT, to appoint
the first Secretariat. Mr Leonard
Fredricsson, President of SUT, was elected
as President of ITU. Mr Gösta Järtelius (†2008),
legal representative of the SUT, was
appointed chief of the ITU Secretariat.
In October 1957 five countries had paid
membership fees to the IUT: Austria,
Switzerland, West Germany, Denmark and
This was the start of
the new IUT, with a permanent
address, a secretariat and with a small
income - the real work could begin.
Lars Anderstig and Nic Nilsson at IUT congress in Helsinki 1981
We must not forget…
What took place in the
1920´s and 30´s is now mostly
history in the US, Australia and in most
countries in Europe. But it is today’s
reality in all developing countries;
unsafe and unhealthy dwellings, insecure
tenure, sudden rent increases, evictions,
one family in a room, etc. Also, people
are not yet safe in many countries in
former East Europe – see article from
Poland. In many cases the necessary
protective laws are there, but not
implemented or too weak. Corruption is
Tenants´ Unions will continue to play
major roles in all countries.
with its members tenant organisations
become powerful and influential. So again,
the appeal from 1926 is still applicable
today; Tenants Unite!
sometimes also referred to as
International Tenants´ Alliance
EU and IUT
From January 2008, the IUT runs an EU liaison office ,in Brussels,
Head of this office is Ms Barbara Steenbergen:
IUT does not aim at lifting housing
into the EU agenda. The members of the IUT do not have a common standpoint
on this issue.
But, as housing are closely linked to many social issues the IUT is of the
opinion that housing much be discussed in the context of social cohesion.
and combating segregation and homelessness.
Special measures have to be taken into
action regarding countries in transition.
- President: Mr Sven Bergenstråhle
Vice President: Mr Jan Laurier
P.O. Box 7514
SE-103 92 Stockholm, Sweden
Secretary General : Mr Magnus Hammar,
Assistent Secretary: Mr Stefan Runfeldt
General messages and inquires to the IUT Secretariat: email@example.com
- Poster: 70 x 50 cm
The text on the posters read:
WORLD HABITAT DAY - The UN
together with partners for better
housing and secure tenure!
Signed by: UN Centre for Human
Settlements, and, International
Union of Tenants.
See poster on
cm, with text: "Tenants make Cities"
- IUT folder 2016, Tenants United!
Who we are, What we want, What we do
Brochure en français 2013:
Qui nous sommes, Ce que nous
voulons, Ce que nous faisons.
Wer wir sind, Was wir wollen,
Was wir tun
...available from the IUT Secretariat;