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Esch residents in new protest against flat-sharing ban

Esch residents in new protest against flat-sharing ban

by Eddy Renauld and Zuzanna Reda-Jakima 28.09.2020 From our online archive
More than 120 people took to streets of Luxembourg's second-largest city
Protestors stand with placards in Esch Photo: Pierre Matgé
Protestors stand with placards in Esch Photo: Pierre Matgé

Protesters in Esch-sure-Alzette took to the streets to rise up against a controversial plan to ban people from living together in one house unless they are related or in a relationship.

More than 120 people on Saturday expressed their anger at a law that would ban flat sharing, in the third such protest since the middle of June.

The city plans to regulate flat-sharing this year, saying it wants to prevent property owners from cashing in by renting out rooms individually, rather than the entire home - a practice the Esch mayor has said means that ordinary families are being priced out of the market.

The issue came to light when a doctoral student at the University of Luxembourg was told she could not register at her new address because she would be sharing a home with people she was not related to.

A professor at the University had posted the letter from the southern town on social media, showing that the city's zoning plan – or PAG – no longer allows tenants to share a home with people they are unrelated to.

That quickly caused a wave of protest, particularly given that Esch-sur-Alzette is home to the country's university, and flat sharing is a common way for students to look for cheap housing.

Jean-Michel Campanella, president of the Association for the protection of tenants in Luxembourg, created in July, said it was not up to a municipality to "dictate" what is meant by shared accommodation but rather defined after discussing with society.

He called for a national demonstration on October 10 in the streets of Luxembourg. "In my opinion, this protest action in Esch is only the beginning", he told the Luxemburger Wort newspaper.

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