Why small-scale rental housing should get priority

Prof Ivan Turok joins John Maytham to discuss the creation of a more positive and progressive housing policy.

Affordable housing is one of the key issues South Africans face daily. With rent rising and petrol prices soaring, perhaps it is time to look at new housing policies to help South Africans.

A solution to this macro-issue, according to research done by Human Sciences Research Council executive director, Professor Ivan Turok, is small-scale rental housing which functions similarly to informal backyard housing but also expands to the usage of a large property to house up to 15 rental units.

Turok explains that small-scale rental housing is beneficial for a number of reasons, namely helping relieve the pressure of the severe fiscal restraint that the government is under, create alternative forms of housing, encourage enterprising in poorer communities, and allow people to create solutions that do not require government funding.

As a means of accommodation that has evolved from the days of Wendy Houses, Turok says government needs to enable communities and make it easier to get formal approval to run small-scale rental housing so there can be accountability to alternative renters.

Because [backyard housing] are all unauthorised, the municipality feels 'well nobody applied to us, we don't know about them,' and turns a blind eye. So, we've got to change this mindset towards some of our townships, which is a sort of laissez-faire, anything goes, and take this development more seriously.

Prof Ivan Turok, Executive director - Human Sciences Research Council

Listen to the audio for more.

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