Slum Upgrading and the Rental Housing Sector: A study of landlord-tenant relationships in a Lagos (Nigeria) slum

  • Cresencia Uleme

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The prominence of the inadequate housing conditions found in slums has compelled most governments in developing world and international organisations, notably the World Bank, to invest in several housing strategies, namely the provision of housing and self-help housing, in order to improve the housing conditions of slum dwellers. However, the approaches adopted over the years have faced challenges and criticisms from practitioners, scholars and other stakeholders. The approach to slum housing has shifted from the provision of housing to “slum upgrading”, which in most African cities is the provision of basic services and infrastructure. Slum upgrading has become the most widely adopted policy approach for the improvement of slum settlements without necessitating physical intervention to the houses themselves in the belief that these measures will stimulate housing improvement. Experience shows that not all beneficiaries improve their dwelling following an upgrade; however, the reasons why slum residents do not improve their property are poorly understood. Furthermore, the current literature fails to explore those situations where landlords and tenants are both involved since approaches to slum housing, including slum upgrading, largely stem from the assumption that slum houses are mainly owner occupied. However, analysis has shown that a large proportion of the population in urban areas of developing countries are tenants who rent from landlords. Therefore, using a qualitative approach, this study explores how landlord-tenant relationships influence the process of housing improvement in the context of a slum upgrade, based on a case study of Badia in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the nine slums upgraded through World Bank-funded projects between 2006 and 2013. Results from semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews provide a better understanding of the actors that influence the process of housing improvement. The study draws particular attention to the different ownership patterns of rental housing which create complexities in the nature of the relationship between landlords and tenants which, in turn, influence the process of housing improvement. These results offer an explanation for the reasons why a rental property may not be improved in the context of a slum upgrade. Therefore, regulations and reforms intended to cater for the needs of slum housing require careful consideration and awareness of housing ownership patterns. Furthermore, this thesis provides some recommendations for future rental housing policies.
Date of AwardMar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorJanet Wilson (Supervisor), Kevin Deane (Supervisor), Eiman Elbanhawy (Supervisor) & Drew Gray (Director of Studies)

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