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Elements of residential security in comparative focus: Renting homes in Great Britain and Ireland

Elements of residential security in comparative focus: Renting homes in Great Britain and Ireland
Elements of residential security in comparative focus: Renting homes in Great Britain and Ireland
The revival of private renting was a defining, if largely unexpected, development during the post-1998 period. Many households, priced out of ownership or faced with growing social housing waiting lists, were channelled towards an ultra-low residential security model which privileged the property rights of landlords above most, if not all, other policies. This exposed many to insecurity in the form of, so called, no fault evictions, unaffordable rents, relatively poorer housing conditions, and increased risk of homelessness. As the revival of private renting took hold, powerful forces of political separation were unlocked by a process of devolution in the UK. This allowed the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly to follow the lead of Dáil Éireann, in the Republic of Ireland, and reform residential security regimes to extend protections for private tenants. Yet despite these changes, there is a strong degree of continuity in the underlying housing politics driving reform and, in particular, how policy makers have continued to conceptualise private renting, and indeed, private renters in much the same highly commodified terms. How can this inherent tension between change and continuity be resolved? This thesis aims to demonstrate the development of a common residential security regime in the private sector in the UK and the Republic of Ireland through an analysis of the historical development of housing law and policy at critical junctures. This common residential security regime survived the political separation of Northern Ireland and, what would become, the Republic of Ireland, and endured to the end of the 20th century, thus setting the basis for post-1998 developments. Although the historical development of this residential security regime is considered, the primary focus is on how this regime has been impacted by the forces of political separation during the post-1998 period. The central thesis is that while tenant protections against eviction and rent increases have been extended during this period, the strong degree of continuity in housing politics behind these reforms has led to the setting of regulatory red lines which have limited the development of substantial legal difference. The conclusion is that although there are positive features to the various post-1998 reforms, they do not signal a fundamental rejection of the ultra-low residential security model. Rather, key features of that regime have been carried forward into the various reforms. As the revival of private renting solidifies, many of the social problems associated with that model are likely to grow in stature. The normative argument is made that a meaningful break with the ultra-low residential security model can be achieved through a fundamental change in approach to residential security that prioritises the use value of housing as a home. One such alternative approach may be based on the human right to housing in international law. This offers valuable normative content to re-organise security of tenure and rent regulation in a way that places the individual, and their dignity, at the centre of residential security.
University of Southampton
Jordan, Mark Gerard
1d6ee75d-3507-4f1c-9bfe-b69251bf81f3
Jordan, Mark Gerard
1d6ee75d-3507-4f1c-9bfe-b69251bf81f3

Jordan, Mark Gerard (2020) Elements of residential security in comparative focus: Renting homes in Great Britain and Ireland. Doctoral Thesis, 283pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The revival of private renting was a defining, if largely unexpected, development during the post-1998 period. Many households, priced out of ownership or faced with growing social housing waiting lists, were channelled towards an ultra-low residential security model which privileged the property rights of landlords above most, if not all, other policies. This exposed many to insecurity in the form of, so called, no fault evictions, unaffordable rents, relatively poorer housing conditions, and increased risk of homelessness. As the revival of private renting took hold, powerful forces of political separation were unlocked by a process of devolution in the UK. This allowed the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly to follow the lead of Dáil Éireann, in the Republic of Ireland, and reform residential security regimes to extend protections for private tenants. Yet despite these changes, there is a strong degree of continuity in the underlying housing politics driving reform and, in particular, how policy makers have continued to conceptualise private renting, and indeed, private renters in much the same highly commodified terms. How can this inherent tension between change and continuity be resolved? This thesis aims to demonstrate the development of a common residential security regime in the private sector in the UK and the Republic of Ireland through an analysis of the historical development of housing law and policy at critical junctures. This common residential security regime survived the political separation of Northern Ireland and, what would become, the Republic of Ireland, and endured to the end of the 20th century, thus setting the basis for post-1998 developments. Although the historical development of this residential security regime is considered, the primary focus is on how this regime has been impacted by the forces of political separation during the post-1998 period. The central thesis is that while tenant protections against eviction and rent increases have been extended during this period, the strong degree of continuity in housing politics behind these reforms has led to the setting of regulatory red lines which have limited the development of substantial legal difference. The conclusion is that although there are positive features to the various post-1998 reforms, they do not signal a fundamental rejection of the ultra-low residential security model. Rather, key features of that regime have been carried forward into the various reforms. As the revival of private renting solidifies, many of the social problems associated with that model are likely to grow in stature. The normative argument is made that a meaningful break with the ultra-low residential security model can be achieved through a fundamental change in approach to residential security that prioritises the use value of housing as a home. One such alternative approach may be based on the human right to housing in international law. This offers valuable normative content to re-organise security of tenure and rent regulation in a way that places the individual, and their dignity, at the centre of residential security.

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Elements of Residential Security PhD thesis vFinalised
Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 January 2023.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Permission to deposit thesis - form Mark Jordan_RW
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Published date: January 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448284
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448284
PURE UUID: 8ff480b0-3470-4cda-b3a3-60bf86d92aa1

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Date deposited: 19 Apr 2021 16:31
Last modified: 19 Apr 2021 16:31

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Author: Mark Gerard Jordan

University divisions

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