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No legal protection against eviction into the streets for tenants of flats for uniformed services

The law currently in force does not provide the members of the uniformed services and their families with a universally applicable standard of protection of their tenants’ rights.  The issue concerns occupants of residential premises administered by the Minister of Interior and his subordinate bodies, units of the Prison Service and the Heads of the Internal Security Agency and the Intelligence Agency.

Rules and procedure for vacating such premises are established by separate provisions of law, explicitly waiving the universally applicable Tenant Protection Act. In practice, this means that ‘uniformed’ tenants and their families (including pregnant women, people with disabilities, bedridden persons, etc.) are not eligible for temporary replacement premises, thus enjoy no protection against eviction into the streets.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has intervened in this case to the Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and Minister of Justice. According to the HFHR, eviction into the streets cannot be reconciled with the principle of protection of human dignity and family well-being and is contrary to the public authorities’ obligation to address homelessness. The above legal requirements call for the introduction of remedial measures in the form of replacement premises for evicted tenants, regardless of the source of their entitlement to the formerly occupied residence.

Also, evicted persons must be awarded a minimum level of protection for humanitarian reasons. This contention has been affirmed by the Constitutional Tribunal which held that the safeguards against eviction into the streets should be universal, that is applicable to all the tenants who occupy residential premises, regardless whether their right to use the premises has been obtained under any special housing schemes.

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