ELEMENTS OF CONTEXT
The situation in Iceland since 2008 is very particular: economic collapse, major change in the government coalition, radical reform of the Constitution and application to join the European Union. It is in this context that took place in 2013, parliamentary elections in the country.
The Government has therefore put in place a series of measures to deal with this situation: lower taxation, extend repayment periods, change the bankruptcy law, etc. (1) Note that if Iceland could take a series of measures (such as currency devaluation ), in contrast to the austerity taking place in many European countries affected by the crisis, it is also because it is not in the European Union and is therefore not bound by a series of regulations. Iceland, however, wishes to join the European Union. It is in this context that took place in 2013, parliamentary elections in the country.
Many households are always in great financial difficulty (2011). If only a minority of people were delays repayment mortgage, the fourth those who borrowed struggling to repay and that 28%, the repayment exceeded the value of housing. The problems are mainly concentrated in low-income households. ( 1 )
According to some observers , Iceland now discover social insecurity . Rising prices and unemployment, declining purchasing power, many new phenomena that creates a new vulnerability, visible especially around charities.
HISTORY OF CITIES – HERITAGE
It is estimated that the exceptionally high during the 40-45 war after inflation has been one of the essential causes that favored the continuous growth of the property.
The ideology of private property plays a key role. For example, 7.8% of homes that were built after the so-called ‘social’ initiatives for low-income families have often been available to applicants through a special tenure known to “home – working”, instead of being rented as housing for low-income, as is done in most other countries.
In a certain extent, we expect a high rate of occupancy property in a country like Iceland. The supply of rental housing tends to be higher in industrialized areas in the big cities, in city centers and urban areas. Iceland has neither cities, nor a developed industry. A large part of the small private rental sector in Iceland is actually inside the old city areas of the capital Reykjavik.
RIGHT TO HOUSING
The right to housing is not included in the Icelandic Constitution. Both articles are however to remember :
Article 66: The home is inviolable. The accommodation can be searched or letters or other seized and examined, without a warrant, or as exceptions determined by law documents.
Article 67: Private property is inviolable. No one may be compelled to give up his property except for a public purpose. In this case the expropriation may take place only under the law and subject to appropriate compensation.
SOME INTERESTING PRACTICES
Social and economic aspects
QUALITY OF HOUSING
INFORMAL HOUSING / SLUM / HOMELESS
ROLE OF PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
CREATION OF THE FUND CREDIT TO HOUSING
In 1999, the state created the credit to housing (CDC) taking over all the assets and liabilities of the National Housing Commission which preceded it. In the context of public policy, the CDC has a mandate to promote security of tenure and equal access to affordable housing, providing loans to individuals (for the acquisition of private dwellings or repair old housing) and local communities, businesses and non-governmental organizations (for construction or acquisition of rental housing) . It is not directly funded by the state but by the performance of its own shares by issuing bonds and commissions received from its clients. (1)
Following the Icelandic financial crisis (2008), households have experienced increasing difficulties in repaying their mortgages. This required a massive restructuring of debts which had eroded the equity of the CDC. In 2010, the government carried out a massive injection of capital to counter the phenomenon. (1)
Housing benefits are paid only to families who rent their homes. The family income , the amount of rent and the number of children is taken into account for the granting of these benefits. (3)
Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic
Iceland has extensive energy resources from its unique geology and its abundant hydrography. In 2011, it was estimated that over 85% of its energy come from renewable energy, more than 65% of the geothermal energy. This is due in large part to 600 hot springs in the country as well as other phenomena paravolcaniques allowing the use of geothermal energy for both space heating and for electricity. (4)
Bibliography & Sitography
OECD, Iceland report 2013
In P. Culturello, Regard sur le logement : une étrange marchandise, article de Jon Runar Sveinsson “Les problèmes de la propriété du logement. Le cas de l’Islande”, éd. L’Harmattan, 1992.
Wikipedia, Energy and Iceland.