Authors and social sectors promote tenancies as an effective alternative to homeownership, especially as a result of the 2007 mortgage crisis. However, ownership entails a range of values; among others, stability, which makes it particularly attractive. Quite often, urban leases do not offer the advantages or sufficient guarantees, for either landlords or tenants, to make them an attractive type of housing tenure. This chapter analyses legal tenancy frameworks in Spain, Portugal and Malta, including the most recent shifts towards the liberalization of the contractual relationship, in order to discuss whether urban leases in these countries constitute, in their legal configuration, a true alternative to homeownership. The German, Austrian and Swiss legal systems are also analysed briefly in order to draw parallels between the respective regimes as far as these are the European countries with the highest rates of rented dwellings.
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