Risks and informality in owner-occupied shared housing: to let, or not to let?

Ashraful Alam*, Claudio Minca, Khandakar Al Farid Uddin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In Australian suburbs, due to increasing housing unaffordability, informal shared housing makes up a growing private rental sub-market. At present, there is limited research exploring what dynamics may motivate owner-occupiers to initiate informal shared housing, how informality operates in this rental sub-market and how owner-occupiers with distinct ethnic and cultural backgrounds negotiate informality. Drawing on a qualitative investigation among owner-occupiers of Bangladeshi origin in different suburbs of Greater Sydney, the paper discusses a distinct form of informal shared housing that goes beyond the perceived economic rationality of rent-and-return. What our research reveals is that owner-occupiers also take into consideration the multiple risks involved in the management of these shared housing premises and how the management of these risks results in the limitation of the rental sub-market to specific ethnic communities and social groups. Our findings highlight the importance of considering social and cultural factors in rethinking the notion of home in these non-normative housing sites. We conclude with some suggestions about policy interventions that may be able to recognise the underlying logics of informal housing tenures that are informed by cultural perceptions of risk on the part of owner-occupiers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-82
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Issue number1
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Sydney
  • housing
  • shared housing
  • informality
  • Bangladeshi owner-occupier
  • migrant homemaking


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