Forms and mechanisms of exclusion in contemporary housing systems: An evidence review

This report details the emerging and contemporary mechanisms of exclusion in the UK housing system. It focuses on rental housing, both in the social and private rented sectors. The evidence review follows a typology of structural, individual and institutional mechanisms. Whilst these represent overlapping domains, the overwhelming majority of research evidence into contemporary mechanisms of housing exclusion relates to institutional mechanisms, at different scales, from the State to the organisation. The key findings include:

  • The changing legal and policy framework is important in fostering new mechanisms of housing exclusion, some of which (such as the ‘Right to Rent’ or restrictions to Local Housing Allowance) are overt and intentional
  • Lack of monitoring of housing needs and outcomes means that there are gaps in the evidence that is used to set priorities and shape the delivery of appropriate housing for different groups
  • Exclusion can operate through a lack of information about the housing options that individuals are entitled to access
  • A range of assessment and screening methods are being operationalised within social housing allocations, which may result in exclusion from some forms of ‘affordable’ housing for those seen as higher risk
  • Homelessness legislation and assessments represent enduring forms of individual and institutional exclusion; the impact of extended duties is not yet clear
  • Discrimination against individuals in receipt of Housing Benefit in the private rented sector has clear exclusionary impacts. The role of institutions, for example in setting restrictive mortgage conditions for buy-to-let landlords, has compounded this
  • There is anecdotal evidence that big data, algorithmic assessments, and social media have been utilised by landlords to exclude individuals considered financially or behaviourally risky

The review finishes by identifying a number of evidence gaps. This is the first output from the project, which will inform further research with key stakeholders. If you would like to find out more, please contact one of the project team.

Authors: Dr Jenny Preece and Dr Emma Bimpson

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Date: June 5, 2019 9:00 am

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