Tenure, household, 'home' and the new urban landscape: a mixed methods analysis of the changing private rented sector

  • Nigel De Noronha

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis critically examines the geography of the growth in the private rented sector (PRS) in England, changing living arrangements and how living in the PRS affects feeling at 'home'. It moves beyond the grand narratives and individual anecdotes of the 'housing crisis' to explain what it means, for whom and where. An integrated mixed methods approach using quantitative analysis of 2001 and 2011 census tables, 2011 Census microdata, the English Housing Survey 2010-11 (EHS) and qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews was combined to address the four key research questions:• How have tenure and household type changed nationally, regionally, at local authority and neighbourhood level between 2001 and 2011?• Who is moving into the PRS and why? What are the characteristics of households living in the PRS?• Do different household types in the PRS tend to live in particular neighbourhoods? What are the characteristics of these neighbourhoods and households?• How do people who live in the PRS feel at 'home'?The growth of the PRS has led to spatial concentrations by household type and tenure in local authorities across England and changing living arrangements. This was particularly reflected by the concentration of other households with and without dependent children in London and some other areas. At neighbourhood level this revealed spatial polarisation by household type and tenure and the emergence of new urban landscapes caused by housing market constraints which were most likely to affect younger households and those who had migrated both from within and outside the UK. The EHS showed that the majority of newly formed households had moved into the PRS suggesting that it would continue to grow, the PRS was regarded as the least desirable tenure with the majority living in it planning to move, mostly into ownership, in the future and that the PRS led to high levels of relative poverty after housing costs exacerbated by higher fuel costs for some and poorer material conditions including higher levels of overcrowding, particularly for other households with dependent children, damp and cold. Despite these financial and material disadvantages there is evidence that households living in the PRS overcame tenancy constraints to enjoy the emotional, cognitive and social aspects of feeling at home and to engage in home improvement and home-making.As well as these substantive contributions to knowledge this thesis provided both methodological and policy contributions. The use of facet methodology provided critical insights from a number of different quantitative techniques that enabled the substantive contributions on the changing geography and demography of the PRS, residential decision making and feeling at home, and together the innovative of spatial econometric techniques to housing, into the emergence of new urban landscapes. The policy contributions are underpinned by the need to recognise the universal right to a home which: requires market interventions to rebalance landlord and tenant rights; provide a strong case to ensure that no household is forced to live in relative poverty after their housing and fuel costs have been taken into account; and that spatial planning needs to be based on a commitment to meet local housing needs and restrict the power of developers to deliver schemes that lead to gentrification, displacement and spatial exclusion.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMark Brown (Supervisor)


  • spatial econometrics
  • household type
  • neoliberalism
  • spatial polarisation
  • home
  • private rented sector
  • housing

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