The United Nations define in ‘Human Rights. The Right to Adequate Housing (Fact Sheet No. 21)’ an adequate housing standards as a fundamental human right. Although this doesn’t mean governments are forced to provide their residents with accommodations, nations have a certain responsibility in terms of providing affordable housing. In Europe, the requirement of residential construction increased in recent years. In almost every European country the demand exceeds the supply of subsidized residential properties. Especially, in agglomeration areas it is becoming difficult to provide affordable housing to households with low incomes. Although there is a high demand for housing with rent control, this housing stock has declined in recent years.

All over Europe, a variety exist in the political systems concerning housing provision. Each system has to be regarded in the context of the respective country and region. Within this investigation, the social housing systems of Germany and Switzerland are analyzed and compared. The paper is designed as a binational comparative study. The aim is to examine the relationship between the regional conditions and the political aims and offers. Thus, political objectives, strengths, weaknesses and potentials of the specific systems of the countries are emphasized. 

The investigation is dedicated to the political instruments and their respective impact in Germany and in Switzerland. The main focus of this investigation is on the alignment and the realization of the German and Swiss social housing system.

First, the specific laws, conditions and offers in each country are analyzed. Subsequently, these results are compared and relevant, efficient components are identified. This examination is supplemented by interviews with actors of the regional housing market as well as by case studies.