The middle remains missing: class exclusion from the urban rental market in suburban Johannesburg




middle income, rental housing, Johannesburg, National Credit Act, PIE Act, South Africa


There is a huge demand for housing in Johannesburg, South Africa, due to significant in-migration as well as the legacy of apartheid. Rental housing supply in Johannesburg is particularly constrained. Despite this, little is known about the formal rental market in terms of middle income access. Thus, this explorative qualitative study seeks to partially address this research gap. Results show that specific legislative constraints, namely the National Credit Act and the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, have created an imbalance between the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, driving onerous credit checks and documentary demands, all of which are inadvertently excluding individuals from the formal rental market. Thus, while race previously excluded many from the suburbs under study, class now seems to be a significant factor in terms of who can access rental property. As such, rental housing supply is to some degree artificially constrained.


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