Stockholm, November 2015
  • Head office: Stockholm
    P.O. Box 7514
    103 92 Stockholm
    Tel +46 10 459 11 20
    Mobile: +46 70 386 53 55
    Fax +46 8 20 43 44


  • IUT representation to the EU
    Avenue des Rogations 28
    B-1200 Bruxelles
    Contact person: Ms Barbara Steenbergen
    Head of liaison office to the EU
    + 32 2  51 30 784



IUT common Statement - congress October 2016
"The rent is too high: We need a 21st century rent control"
                  ENG pdf     FR pdf     ES pdf

The Importance of Affordable Rental Housing, by IUT President Sven Bergenstråhle, 2016 pdf

An essay about housing policy from a tenant’s point of view, by Sven Bergenstråhle, IUT President, 2015 pdf

IUT Declaration: Eviction is not the solution! People need roofs over their heads! May 2015 pdf


IUT in the media



  • IUT in CHI Scottish Housing Matters, summer 2014 pdf
  • Sweden: Tenant Empowerment (Sw. Boinflytande) theme of Tenant´s Day 2014 pdf
  • England: 3-year tenancies is nothing to fear, says IUT.
    May pdf
  • Czech Rep: Pražské zasedání výkonného výboru mezinárodni unioe nájemníků (IUT). eDomes Červen 2014 pdf
  • Sweden: Disagreements about social housing,
    Hem & Hyra May pdf
  • France: Le droit au logement pour tous, un enjeu national mais aussi européen, avril. pdf
  • The NL: De Dutch case blijft onverminderd van belang voor heel Europa. pdf
  • Sweden: Market rents do not result in increased construction, Bofast Febr pdf
  • Sweden: Market rents do not result in increased construction, ETC Febr. pdf


  • Tenure neutrality also in transition countries, says IUT President Bergenstråhle, speaking at conference on Emerging Private Rental Sector in Transition Countries, Budapest Sept 12-14 pdf
  • IUT and the 'French case', Housing Mattters, March pdf


  • IUT in the Danish tenant magazine Vi Lejer pdf


International Union of Tenants

IUT Statutes, ENG pdf

Statutes de IUT, FR pdf

Statuten für die IUT ,DE pdf

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 December, 2016 pdf

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) pdf

The objectives include:

  • Co-operation between tenants through sharing information
  • 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;
  • The Global Tenant magazine is published quarterly, English and French
  • Seminars
  • 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 social exclusion.
IUT and its members promote the Tenants' Charter, available in 10 languages

The Tenants' Charter

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 in 2003/2004.

The Tenant's Charter is available in 10 languages:

  • Bosnian pdf
  • Norwegian pdf
  • English pdf
  • French pdf
  • German pdf
  • Icelandic pdf
  • Japanese, 日本語 pdf
  • Polish pdf
  • Spanish, Español pdf
  • Russian, Русско pdf


IUT definition 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. “


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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

From 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 postponed.

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. 
Still, Mr Ramdohr continues, the Reichsbund Deutscher Mieter has succeeded in bringing in new laws that protects the tenants from ruthless evictions and unjustified rent increases.
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 tenants.

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.

1926, International 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 agreed on.


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 a strong fighting organisation ( Kampforgansation) was created.
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.
The 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 Associations.

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 speculative landlords.

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. 

The International 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 Berlin.

Clouds build up in the 30´s
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 swastika!
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.


IUT 1955-
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 (one 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.
After the 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.

First Secretariat
The International Tenants´ Union
[1], 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 Sweden.

This was the start of the new IUT, with a permanent address, a secretariat and with a small income - the real work could begin.

AnderstigNilssonSF1981Lars 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 also extensive.
Tenants´ Unions will continue to play major roles in all countries.
Together with its members tenant organisations become powerful and influential. So again, the appeal from 1926 is still applicable today; Tenants Unite!

 [1] sometimes also referred to as  International Tenants´ Alliance

WebAboutIUTGermanFlag  Geschichte über IUT


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EU and IUT
From January 2008, the IUT runs an EU liaison office ,in Brussels, Belgium.
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.

IUT Secretariat

- President: Mr Sven Bergenstråhle

- Vice President: Mr Jan Laurier 

IUT Secretariat:
P.O. Box 7514
SE-103 92 Stockholm, Sweden

- Secretary General : Ms Annika Wahlberg

- Assistent Secretary: Mr Stefan Runfeldt

General messages and inquires to the IUT Secretariat:


IUT Products

  • Folder: About rental housing - and why we like it! pdf

  • T-shirts
    Text: Tenants Make Cities
    Sizes: S, M, L, XL
    Price: €5,00

    male, black pdf

    - male, white pdf

    - female, black pdf

    - female, white pdf

  • 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 images/Habitat affisch.pdf

  • Streamer 5x30 cm, with text: "Tenants make Cities"

  • IUT folder 2016, Tenants United! pdf
     Who we are, What we want, What we do

    Brochure en français 2013
    : Locataires Unis! pdf
    Qui nous sommes, Ce que nous voulons, Ce que nous faisons.

    Broschüre im Deutsch; Vereinte Mieter! pdf
    Wer wir sind, Was wir wollen, Was wir tun

...available from the IUT Secretariat;


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International Union of Tenants

Tenants United - participation across borders