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Rental Market Interventions


See below the index of the Rental Market Interventions Ressource Library and country resources.


With the increased urbanisation of humanitarian responses, shelter actors are increasingly using rental market interventions to provide shelter to vulnerable households after both man-made and natural disasters. Recognising that vulnerable households face a variety of financial, social, legal and physical barriers to accessing rental housing in these circumstances, these programmes provide not only financial support – through cash transfers, negotiated rent reductions, rent freezes or rent-free periods – but also technical support to improve the quality and availability of rental housing, services and infrastructure; to improve tenure security; and to facilitate crisis-affected households’ integration into local communities and their longer-term recovery. In their engagement with housing markets and links to the housing sector, their interaction with complex urban systems, and their dependence on various laws, policies and cultural norms, rental assistance programmes require a broader skillset than that which is usually found in the shelter sector, to include expertise in housing markets, legal counselling and social work, and highlight the need for cross-sectoral collaboration. Based on a desk review and key informant interviews, this report presents learning from those involved in the implementation, coordination and management of rental assistance programmes in a variety of natural disaster and conflict settings. 


  • Rental housing occupies a grey area on the continuum between emergency and durable housing solutions, and between the shelter and housing sectors. It is therefore important that the wider rights-based concept of adequate housing is considered the benchmark in humanitarian rental market interventions. 
  • Rental market interventions are a form of Market-based Programming (MBP) and should be designed, implemented and monitored following MBP best practices. This includes starting with a market analysis, and following the Minimum Standards for Market Analysis. In addition, an effective and appropriate rental market intervention is one that is founded on a context analysis and designed to address a range of barriers that displaced people face to access adequate housing. 
  • Prioritise approaches that maximise the displaced households’ ability to make their choices independently (e.g. negotiating rent with landlords). Organisations should ensure that the criteria used to identify adequate rental housing are aligned with the target population’s priorities including location, cultural adequacy and cost. 
  • The housing choices and preferences vary widely between men and women. It is important that the views of the different groups are captured in the decision-making process related to the selection of the properties. Attention should be given to the needs of persons with disability when identifying or upgrading properties. Integrated, multi-sectoral programmes which aim to make improvements to neighbourhoods have proven to be an effective way of addressing wider issues related to access to housing, when combined with household rental assistance. 
  • Organisations should balance the need for certainty about property ownership with the need to provide humanitarian assistance, adopting an incremental approach to tenure security where necessary. Targeted support will likely be necessary to ensure that women and other vulnerable groups are not at increased risk of tenure insecurity. Trust – and proximity – between landlord and tenant can be a key factor in improving the latter’s tenure security. Written lease agreements usually help to improve tenure security. When used, a training for the two parties on the terms of the agreement is essential; including a third party in the rental contract is considered best practice.



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