Spaces of exception: Governing fuel poverty in England’s multiple occupancy housing sector

Stefan Bouzarovski, Jenni Cauvain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs) – residential properties containing common areas shared by several households – are a growing feature of the housing landscape across the United Kingdom. They have often been subject to political stigmatization as a result, in part, of comprising poor quality dwellings. This paper uses a ‘spaces of exception’ framework to explore the juridical and material mechanisms involved in the rise of fuel poverty among people living in HMOs. Having analysed evidence from interviews, census data and the secondary literature pertaining to the English context, we highlight the processes that have led to the biopolitical othering of this housing stock in institutional and infrastructural terms. We argue that the expansion and persistence of fuel poverty in HMOs are promoted not only by the disproportionate concentration of low-income residents in relation to the rest of the PRS, but also by the socio-technical configurations that underpin this type of housing. Fuel poverty can thus be seen as the joint outcome of broader practices of legal, political and material delegitimization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSpace and Polity
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2016


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