|Support Measures to Promote Rental Housing for Low-Income Groups (HABITAT, 1993, 132 p.)|
Although about half of the urban population in developing countries are non-owner occupants and renters, only limited attention has so far been paid to the role of rental housing policies. Policies designed to promote home-ownership have dominated the agenda of the housing sector in most countries.
In recent years, however, the rental housing option has started to receive more attention from researchers, policy-makers and international organizations. In view of the growing international interest in rental housing, an Expert Group Meeting, jointly organized by UNCHS (Habitat) and IHS (Institute for Housing), was held at Rotterdam in 1989. As an outcome of the meeting, UNCHS (Habitat) published a report entitled Review of Rental Systems and Rental Stability: Recommendations for Public Policy (HS/171/89E). Subsequently, UNCHS published a report entitled Rental Housing (HS/217/90E), bringing the papers presented at the Expert Group Meeting to the attention of a wider audience. On the topic of policies for rental housing in developing countries, the Centre has also published a report entitled Strategies for Low-income Shelter and Services Development: the Rental Housing Option (HS/172/89E).
Despite a recent upsurge in research on rental housing, we still know remarkably little about the mechanics of rental-housing supply in developing countries, the rationale behind housing choice, landlord-tenant relations, the effects of government policy, and the operation of the law. While we do now know something about a few cities in developed countries, we are still profoundly ignorant of how rental-housing markets operate in most less-developed countries.
This publication attempts to fill some of the information gaps identified above. The report is based on a review of the literature on rental housing in the third-world cities and on three specially commissioned reports on rental housing in the cities of Benin, Cairo and Delhi. In each of the three cities, special surveys of landlords were conducted. In Benin, the survey consisted of 50 landlords, in Cairo, 100 landlords and, in Delhi, 50 landlords. In addition, meetings were held with the housing authorities, the local authorities, with real-estate interests, construction companies, banks and investment corporations. Surveys of tenants were also conducted in Benin (80 tenants) and Delhi (200 tenants). In both cases, the tenants were selected from all income groups in the city.
I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Dr. A.O. Ozo, Mr. Hany Serageldin and Dr. Kiran Wadhva, who compiled the city reports on Benin, Cairo and Delhi, respectively, and Dr. Alan Gilbert who consolidated the material into a synthesis report.