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CaCHE & HSA symposium: The social responsibilities of landlords

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Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences

University of Sheffield

219 Portobello

Sheffield

S1 4DP

United Kingdom

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The social responsibility of landlords – Evolving roles in the social and private rented sectors

The aim of this symposium, which is funded by the Housing Studies Association (HSA), is to understand how ‘social roles’ and ‘social responsibilities’ may be relevant concepts for both social and private sector landlords as they seek to provide housing for an increasingly diverse tenant base. Social sector landlords are developing properties for mid- and market rent, as well as outright sale (Manzi and Morrison, 2017). Whilst this diversification may lead to housing broader populations that are excluded from traditional markets, it can also shift the focus away from provision for people most in need of social or financial support. In tandem, the private rented sector has come to form an integral part of local housing duties to prevent homelessness. Yet, despite the way in which some private landlords and letting agents are responding to an increasingly complex client group, and the emergence of private and council-led ethical letting agencies, the social role and responsibilities of this sector remain largely under-explored.

Practices take shape not only because of individual or organisational decisions, but also in relation to wider structural contexts. The symposium will therefore relate to a number of broader issues including: welfare retrenchment (Jacobs and Manzi, 2014); diversification of social rented housing (Manzi and Morrison, 2017); the dual influence of precarity in labour and housing markets (Shildrick et al., 2012); growing demand for private rented housing (Clapham et al., 2014); and the spatial implications arising from these challenges (Beatty and Fothergill, 2014, McKee et al., 2017).

It is clear that both social and private rented sectors encompass a diverse range of organisational approaches and cultures. We invite policymakers, practitioners, researchers and academics to engage in critical discussions, exploring the form, function and meaning of social responsibility. We welcome presentations – from academic papers to practitioner reflections and case studies – addressing (but not limited to) issues such as:

  • The application of the concept of social responsibility within the private rented sector
  • The drivers of changing landlord practices – long- and short-term – and tensions in their roles
  • Landlords’ responses to the complex and varied needs of their tenants, e.g. through shared housing solutions, partnership arrangements with social support providers, etc.
  • Critical reflections about the implications of transferring social or public duties to private or commercial bodies/actors
  • Tenant perspectives on the social role of housing providers and landlords
  • The relationships, interdependencies and negotiation between providers and statutory bodies, including housing, social care and health services
  • The social role of landlords beyond housing outcomes
  • The use of commercial technologies within tenancy allocations, lettings and management processes, and potential implications for housing those on low-incomes

Keynote speakers

  • Faye Greaves, Policy and Practice Officer, Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Tony Manzi, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Kim McKee, University of Stirling
  • Tom Simcock, Edge Hill University, formerly Senior Researcher, Residential Landlords Association

The full programme will be announced soon.

Organised in partnership with the Housing Studies Association.

If you have any questions about the symposium, please contact Dr Emma Bimpson and Dr Jenny Preece.

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Date and Time

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Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences

University of Sheffield

219 Portobello

Sheffield

S1 4DP

United Kingdom

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