Negotiating the impossible? : the pursuit of fair and equitable relationships between landlords and under 25s in the private rented sector
Relationships between landlords and young people, (those under 25), in the private rented sector (PRS) in England and Wales raise a number of important issues for social policy, housing policy and legislation. Firstly, the PRS performs a key role in accommodating young single people who are disproportionately represented in the sector, as access to other tenures is limited. Secondly, successive policy initiatives and legislation have transformed the letting environment in the PRS in conjunction with limiting the resources available to young people to finance accommodation in the sector. Thirdly, relationships in the PRS are at the intersection of a number of legislative provisions and policy regimes resulting in a range of assumptions about each party's respective modes of behaviour in the sector. These aspects of relationships and associated policy and legislative contexts are the key features of exploration in this thesis. This thesis has two main aims. Firstly, to explore assumptions about the nature of the existing legal framework in the PRS and assess its adequacy in regulating relationships. Secondly, to explore the social and economic contexts of relationships and their importance. A qualitative approach was adopted to examine these issues and four research methods were used: in-depth qualitative interviews, vignettes, flashcards and an analysis of letting agreements. The research was conducted in York and a total of 35 interviews were carried out, 15 with landlords, 15 with young people in the PRS, and 5 with representatives of local organisations. This thesis raises implications about the limited role of the law in regulating relationships in the PRS and raises questions about how fair and equitable relationships can be achieved. Regulation and reform of the sector require careful consideration and an awareness of the social and economic contexts of relationships. This thesis provides both a theoretical and empirical basis for the future exploration of these issues.