The housing tick thrives and multiplies quickly in societies with unregulated housing markets. By speculating on the misery of others and the accelerating price increase in the housing market, the housing tick increases its wealth without adding anything of value to society. The Housing Tick Remover can be used as a miniature crowbar for squatting, and for more long-term changes in housing policy by uprooting the housing ticks.
The housing tick thrives and multiplies quickly in societies with unregulated housing markets. And in recent years, a new type of turbo housing tick has developed, and which contributes to even faster property price growth. These are people and companies who need to launder money earned in a creative way, e.g. through human trafficking, corruption or the sale of weapons and drugs. Transparency International has documented that more than 10% of Aker Brygge and Bjørvika in Oslo city center are owned by companies operating from tax havens, and were probably bought with an intention of money laundering.
By not renting out, but rather leaving the money-laundering objects empty – a widespread tendency in European cities – these speculators’ large-scale property acquisitions cause a highly increased demand, and, as is well known, thus also prices. The average homeowner can thus rejoice at how oligarchs from kleptocracies in the East and West contribute to the growth of their fortunes. A side effect, however, is that people in need of housing grab The Housing Tick Remover, get in the back door and get a roof over their heads until an eviction order is implemented.
For those who have not entered the housing market, money laundering through property purchases is bad news. When they complain, neoliberal politicians explain to them that the only thing that can solve the housing problems is that more residents must be built. But since there will be money-laundering billionaires in the foreseeable future, it is naive to believe that a scaled-up activity in building new homes will lead to lower prices, as neoliberals and other free market fanatics nevertheless regard all kinds of regulations within housing policy and pricing – in addition to open registers of property owners – as extremely harmful to the market.
In order to protect the market, the Human Rights Convention on economic, social and cultural rights is set aside. It states that we all have the right to housing with enough light, air, space and proximity to work – and at an affordable price. The result of the prioritization is i.a. that people live in flats three floors below ground level as in Beijing, or have a total of 4 hours travel time per day between home and work as in London.
But there is a strange, different place; in Vienna, in the heart of Europe, a very distinctive and social housing policy has been developed through long-term and systematic use of The Housing Tick Remover. There, the city’s most skilled architects compete to design the most affordable, most beautiful, energy-technically most innovative homes with the most functional floor plans, and where the city’s population is voted Europe’s happiest year after year.
Throughout almost a hundred years of social democratic governing, with the exception of the fascist period from 1934 to 1945, affordable and good housing has been seen as a fundamental common good that must be protected against market fluctuations and price increases. The municipality took early control of its own properties, taxes were introduced and property developers were subject to strict control.
Today, one percent of all income goes to subsidized housing, half of which is paid by the wage earners, while the companies account for the other half. Almost half of Vienna’s population lives in subsidized rental housing.
In a city where people don’t have to spend all their time at work to pay for a home, a large majority can use the city to go to meetings or cafes. There they can, for example, democratically discuss social integration, which is one of the cornerstones of this unique housing policy project.
Portable, crowbar-shaped Housing Tick Remover with metaphorical explosive power.
Instructions for use
Can be summed up with a free rendering of Einstein’s winged words*: Where there is a will, there is a way in.
*) Where there’s a will, there’s a way.