Even when given the opportunity, many householders refuse owner-occupation because rental housing often provides them with a superior form of shelter, certainly in the short-term. This is most obviously the case for recent migrants, newly-formed households, temporary residents, those looking for work, etc, but it is also true for those who have difficulty in building their own home; female-headed households, for example, are relatively concentrated in rental housing.
Investment in rental housing should be encouraged because it is often an equitable way of increasing the amount of accommodation available. Most landlords in Latin America, although less obviously in certain cities of Africa and Asia, are not big operators. Few own more than two houses and most have only a few tenants. Most landlords and landladies are not rich, indeed their ranks contain large numbers of older and single-headed household. letting accommodation offers such households one way of raising their limited incomes. Since most landlords and landladies differ little in terms of their income from most of their tenants, equity is not a significant issue.
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