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From subsistence to petty capitalist landlords: A study of low-income landlords in South Africa's freehold tenure settlements

Radebe, Lynette Dudu; (2000) From subsistence to petty capitalist landlords: A study of low-income landlords in South Africa's freehold tenure settlements. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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There has been a general agreement among low- income housing analysts of developing countries that in order for the governments to improve low- income householders access to shelter, they should refrain from providing housing. Instead, the role of government should be to facilitate the provision of land, securing tenure, providing infrastructure, all of which are necessary to support the initiatives of low - income householders in pursuance of homeownership. However, this shift in the role of government and in the meaning of housing policy has been the subject of much controversy. Some have argued that these "non conventional housing policies" have led to higher costs of production for the poor, forcing these householders to become tenants. Others have associated the cost of production with the rise in different forms of low- income landlords. This thesis is a contribution to the study of low- income landlords. It unveils some of the shortcomings of low- income housing literature on landownership. Implicit in these studies, is the assertion that the promotion of secured tenure, tenure legalisation and freehold landrights in low- income settlements promote the ownership of land by low- income householders. However, they do not explore in any systematic way if the benefits of landownership can affect levels of investment in rental housing. This thesis investigates the impact of promoting landownership by granting freehold land tenure. Using three freehold tenure settlements in South Africa, as case studies, it demonstrates the links between the promotion of landownership, the rise in informal land relationships and the development of three forms of landlords. On the question of landownership, the principal hypothesis advanced by the research is that various forms of state intervention in land, transform non capitalist forms of access to land and contribute towards multiple-plot investments. Regarding the development of forms of landlordism, it is argued that when the government intervenes in land markets to promote freehold landrights, it creates divisions among low- income householders, based on the ability to purchase a titled plot. As a consequence, three groups of householders will appear: those who have been priced out by the cost of a freehold titled plot and rely on informal land relationships, those who have voluntarily chosen to enter into these land relationships and finally, those who can afford to invest in multiple-plot ownership. The thesis finds that the introduction of freehold land rights in South African low- income settlements does not lead to the universal ownership of land by low- income householders. Instead, it accelerates the rise in multiple plot ownership and the development of informal land relationships between the landowners and the non landowners. It concludes by suggesting the inclusion of low- income landlords in the South African government policies on land and housing to alleviate housing shortages.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: From subsistence to petty capitalist landlords: A study of low-income landlords in South Africa's freehold tenure settlements
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Access to shelter; Low-income landlorads
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099742
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