Evictions and housing policies in Italy


  • Alessandra Esposito Sapienza


eviction, property market, social housing




In Italy, the access to adequate housing is currently reduced for large segments of the population, in particular for young people and immigrants belonging to the lower classes (Bank of Italy 2019) and for women and racialised or queer subjectivities, since they often have “lower and more precarious incomes'' (Olcuire 2023, 77). Moreover, the effects of the commodification and financialisation of housing are also increasingly felt by the middle class (Filandri and Olagnero 2014, Filandri et al. 2020). The trend of evictions testifies the Italians' dwelling difficulties: it has risen from 40 thousand evictions issued in 2001 to more than 60 thousand in 2016  (Bank of Italy, 2019, 20). Tenants’ unions and housing movements have denounced this worsening scenario, calling for a new season of public policies in defence of the right to dwell, but their demands remain largely unheeded. The existence of a long-lasting dwelling problem in much of Italy's urban contexts is also testified by the long list of municipalities defined by law as territories with ‘high housing tension’ . Large metropolitan areas but also small and medium-sized cities appear in the list, reflecting the widespread nature of the problem. Nevertheless, this condition is due to a fictitious shortage of housing space, since Italy has a surplus of housing stock over the resident population and high rates of empty properties (Gentili & Hoekstra 2019). Therefore, the point is the affordability of existing residential stock and under what conditions the residential landlords make it available, when they do. The intervention proposes an original empirical analysis based on historical series of data on evictions (from 1983 to 2023); it highlights the increase of evictions for morosity in all Italian cities and discusses the institutional answer to the issue. If evictions in general are the most visible form of housing stress (Olagnero 1998), evictions for morosity are a specific snapshot of dramatic housing distress due to unaffordable housing costs. With regards to the institutional answer, the speech will focus on social housing policies interpreted as a mechanism of further financialisation and privatisation of the Italian real estate market, unsuitable to respond to the social problem of dwelling. 


Bank of Italy (2019) La casa in Italia, Rapporto SIDIEF e Banca d’Italia, Roma.

Gentili M. & Hoekstra J. (2019) Houses without people and people without houses: a cultural and institutional exploration of an Italian paradox, Housing Studies, 34:3,425-447, DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2018.1447093.

Filandri M. & Olagnero M. (2014) Housing Inequality and Social Class in Europe, in Housing Studies, 2014Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 977–993, doi: 10.1080/02673037.2014.925096

Olagnero M. (1998) I muri e le barriere. Il disagio abitativo tra crisi del welfare, crisi del mercato e trasformazioni della famiglia, in “Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia”, Fascicolo 1, gennaio-marzo 1998, pp. 43-73, doi: 10.1423/2478.

Olcuire S. (2023) Transfemminismo e trasformazioni urbane oggi, in Bonu Rosenkranz G., Castelli F. and Olcuire S., “Bruci la città. Generi, transfemminismo e spazio urbano”, Edifir, 76-80.