Slums, Tenants and Homeownership: On Blindness to the Obvious

International Development Planning Review, 30 (2)

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Date Published 2008
Primary Author Alan Gilbert
Other Authors
Theme Rental Housing


Up to one billion tenants may be living in cities across the globe, but most governments continue to ignore them. Insofar as they recognise that tenants exist, the policy is to turn them into home-owners. Even in the UK and US, where this strategy has been underway for some years, it has not managed to reduce the numbers of tenants during the last decade. With the sub-prime crisis, the proportion of tenants is likely to rise. In the rest of the world, few governments recognise that renting is an essential shelter option. This viewpoint demonstrates why tenants and landlords are not likely to disappear, and explains why, for many, renting is a vital housing option. Fundamentally, it is a plea for a tenure-neutral shelter policy.

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