The Court of Justice of the European Union has today ruled that “the financial allowances granted to asylum seekers must enable them to find, if necessary, accommodation on the private rental market.”
In October 2010, the Saciri family applied for asylum in Belgium, however, it was immediately informed that it could not find accommodation in a reception facility and therefore the family started looking for a place to stay in the private rental market. Since the family was unable to pay the rent, it filed an application for financial aid which was rejected on the ground that it ought to have stayed in a reception facility.
Under EU law, asylum seeker must be provided with housing and in case this is not possible with financial allowances or vouchers. So the case was brought to national court.
The EU Court of Justice issued a ruling saying that “the financial aid granted must be sufficient to ensure a dignified standard of living and adequate for the health of applicants and capable of ensuring their subsistence… Where the housing is not provided in kind, the financial allowances must enable the asylum seekers to obtain housing, if necessary, on the private rental market, without their being left to make their own choice of housing suitable for themselves.”
Finally, the Court ruled that the financial aid may be paid by bodies that are part of the public assistance system, provided they meet the minimum standards regarding material reception conditions.