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Human Rights Defender launches constitutional review of administrative eviction

The Human Rights Defender has applied to the Constitutional Tribunal for the constitutional review of the provision that allows eviction of tenants into the street. In February 2015, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights urged the HRD to consider the submission of such an application.

The provision in question, article 144 of the Administrative Enforcement Procedure Act, provides that an enforcer may request that tenants leave the premises. Should they refuse to comply, the enforcer may take appropriate steps to vacate the premises with the use of physical force. The Human Rights Defender argues that the provision is incompatible with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights because it enables authorities to evict people who have no other place to stay.

“The applicable law, which enables the eviction of tenants from an apartment without giving them any shelter in the situation where they are unable to satisfy their housing needs on their own, violates … civil rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, if the premises are vacated in administrative enforcement proceedings”, the HRD’s application reads.

The provision challenged by the HRD applies to anyone who has become a subject of administrative enforcement, hence above all officers of uniformed services living in tied accommodation provided on the basis of administrative decisions, and also people forced to leave their homes because of construction projects carried out under the so-called “Special Laws”.

“This is a very important application”, comments Marcin Szwed, a lawyer with the HFHR. “The HFHR has many times called for amending the provisions which enable eviction into the street, a procedure that violates the constitutionally protected principle of human dignity. We are satisfied that after a long period of the legislator’s inaction, the HRD decided to submit the application to the Constitutional Tribunal”, Mr Szwed adds.

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