This report examines the housing problems Roma face and explores possible solutions. Special attention is paid to the equal treatment of Roma within the Roma community as well as in comparison to the mainstream population.

Many structural factors combined with the poor socio-economic situation of Roma contribute to the problems Roma face in housing. A poor credit history and a history of being behind in rent are often an issue. Additionally, Roma are not always aware of the procedures and rules related to the allocation of rental housing. This can lead to misunderstandings and feelings of being discriminated against.

In addition, features of the Romani culture and relations between Roma make it difficult to allocate suitable housing to Roma. If the member of one Roma family commits a violent crime against the member of another Roma family, all members of the perpetrator’s family must avoid contact with the victim’s family and immediately move to another area. Before moving into a new area, the Roma individual or Roma family must ask the other Roma living in the area for permission to move in. Roma are unwilling to live close to other Roma, as this eventually leads to conflicts.

The housing situation of the Roma is also affected by a lack of knowledge and understanding of the Romani culture within the mainstream population. Problems with landlords and members of the original population exist and Roma feel they are often wrongly accused of disturbing conduct by neighbours. Roma are often automatically allocated housing in areas with lots of immigrants, drug users and poor people.

It is suggested that Roma need information on issues related to applying for housing as well as the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to everyone, such as the right to freedom of movement and the right to choose one’s place of residence. In addition, municipal rental accommodation providers should receive training on Roma housing issues.