Are Foreigners Entitled to a Right to Housing?

by Luca Ettore Perriello

Under the reciprocity clause set forth by Art 16 of the Provisions on the Law in General, foreigners are entitled to the same civil rights as citizens, as long as such rights are afforded to citizens in the foreigners’ countries of origin. Still, Art 16 must be constitutionally interpreted so as to accomplish the full protection of human rights. Therefore, reciprocity does not apply to the fundamental rights the Constitution affords to each and every individual as a human being, rather than as the citizen of a State. Ownership per se is not a fundamental right. However, different aims of ownership may characterize the right to ownership as a fundamental right such that the purchase of property may not be restricted by reciprocity. When property is hence purchased for business purposes, reciprocity may still be preserved as a means of political pressure and national promotion. Conversely, when property is purchased to be a home, property becomes ‘personal’, and ownership is considered to be an inviolable right protected as a right to housing.

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