Private Rented Sector URBAN5128

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The PRS is the dynamic part of our housing system - it is where tenure and household growth has happened, transforming the way housing is consumed in Britain today and by younger people, in particular. It is the site of many key problems in the housing system and is deeply segmented into a variety of submarkets. From a policy perspective, the UK's devolved nations are experimenting with new forms of regulation with different degrees of success with well know criticisms made around enforcement and access to the law or alternate dispute resolution mechanisms. Yet the sector is poorly understood, evidence is fragmentary and policy reform effectiveness is questionable. This course starts out with the existing evidence to better understand what the contemporary PRS looks like. Second, we consider the often ambivalent and conflicted policy stances taken by local, devolved and UK government to PRS policy reform. Third, we look more closely at more spatially-defined functional rental markets. Fourth, we consider bigger questions about the future of housing systems with permanent large rental markets. Finally, we debate the best or most feasible ways forward for the PRS


Semester 2, typically, delivered in 3 hourly blocks, once per week, over 5 consecutive weeks...

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Students will complete a written assignment based on learning outcomes (50%) and will complete a group project which will be a practical report based on the external visit. Both should be 2,000 words

Course Aims

This course aims to provide an understanding of the contemporary private rented sector and its consequences for the UK housing system locally. In particular it will:


■ Provide an historical and multidisciplinary account of the growth of the PRS since 1989.

■ Establish the structure and segmentation of the contemporary PRS into key market segments.

■ Examine the recent policy reform history of the PRS in the different parts of the UK focusing on Scotland

■ Consider the strength of the evidence we have about the functioning of the PRS and relate this to market or system  analysis and policy design. 

■ Debate the desired and also the feasible policy stance to take on the PRS by segment and in terms of price and non-price regulation.

■ Explore the likely future of the PRS in the UK and where policy reform will head

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Critically apply a range of qualitative and quantitative methods and techniques to understand the multi-dimensional growth of the PRS in the UK ;

■ Provide a coherent systems account of the PRS as a whole and a clear sense of the roles played by key segments of the PRS

■ Synthesis and evaluate the key regulatory and other relevant reforms to the PRS across the UK in the last 10 or so years; and provide a systems account of the impact of these reforms.

■ Evaluate the quality of evidence on the PRS and the implications this has for policy and practice

■ Critically understand and reflect upon the impact of the PRS on other tenures and housing outcomes and aspirations of households

■ Develop critically informed arguments about the future role of the PRS in the UK housing system and in local housing systems;

■ Students should also as a result of taking this course:

■ - develop digital and interactive learning skills

■ - undertake group learning and project activities

■ - apply their learning outcomes to real world situations associated with the course though external visits

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment. Taught courses on the Housing Studies Programme (MSc and PGDip) require attendance.