Summary of The 34th AGM and Symposium 2015

Given that 80-90% of Africa’s population are renters in urban areas, and this option is largely informal and totally ignored as part of strategy, the 2015 Symposium aimed at achieving two key objectives:

  • Make a case for Rental Housing as an important means of addressing the housing need; and
  • Use examples from Africa and the rest of the world to illustrate practical approaches and structures for developing affordable rental housing.

There were five presentations and contributions as well as submissions by participants. From all these, it emerged as follows.

Myths surrounding home ownership are not necessarily true. Based on research done across the world, it was clarified that;

  • There is no correlation between wealth and home ownership
  • Not everyone wants to own a home
  • Home ownership does not necessarily offer a better life

Strong incentives for rent vis a vis purchase were shared with the participants. These included but were not limited to:

  • Option for those without sufficient income or equity to secure home ownership
  • Flexibility in managing household budget
  • Accommodates transitory periods in people’s lives from single to family sizes without taxes associated with home ownership
  • Supports mobility for work and study
  • Reduces the level of financial commitment to maintain accommodation
  • For lower income workers allows more disposable income for needs of family
  • For higher income families allows more diverse options for wealth creation

Affordable rental housing programs could be achieved through subsidies to reduce the cost of market rental either through direct Government provided capital grant programs or direct provision of housing.

Rental eligibility requirements are necessary to ensure that housing is allocated to those in greatest need.

Income adjusted or discounted market rent systems ensure affordability.

Effective regulation of affordable rental providers ensures public confidence in the delivery of rental operations and allocation of subsidies.

Rent to buy programs allow tenants and affordable rent in order to save for a deposit and secure home loan


Shared equity allows a home owner to gain entry through owning part of a home and when income rises purchase the remainder. These need an equity partner — either a financial institution or a government-backed provider.

Governments could stimulate supply of rental housing through various policies which are flexible and cover a wide range of target groups and rental housing types.

Governments could also support the supply of rental housing by providing subsidies and tax incentives.

Long term capital is essential for financing rental housing. This can be accessed through bonds, pension funds and insurance companies.

Successful rental housing programs have been implemented across the world. A case study from India was shared with the participants where relaxation of floor space index and offering of transferable development right ( TDRs) was used to create available space in a congested area.

Other successful rental housing schemes that were presented included: Johannesburg Housing Company ( JHC) where more than 4,000 rental houses had been developed and OMH- Mali where PP model has been used to develop more than 6,000 rental units


The Symposium successfully highlighted the case for Rental Housing as an important means of addressing the housing need. Experiences were drawn from across the world to share ideas about practical approaches of achieving successful rental housing programs in order to house 80-90% of the African population who live in rental accommodation.