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Housing Crisis in the Private Rental Sector: Explaining Tenants' Actions and Decisions When Facing Housing Challenges

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

Low-income residents in the City of Los Angeles are currently struggling with steep rent increases. In addition, their lack of resources and the complexity of landlord-tenant regulations in the city have been obstacles when navigating their housing concerns, and for some, could lead to homelessness or living in intractable poverty. This study sought to: a) understand how low-income tenants in the city of Los Angeles perceive threats to their housing conditions, and b) explore various factors to distinguish individual protective actions they take when faced with such threats. The study adapted the protective action decision model (PADM) as the theoretical framework for the analysis of tenants’ decision-making about their housing concerns. PADM considers environmental cues, social cues, information sources, and individual characteristics as predictors of individuals’ protective actions. In addition, the study considers the types of resources and strategies advocacy organizations (AOs) and Public Interest Law Organizations (PILOs) utilize, which allowed the study to explore factors that might play into the tenants’ decision-making process when they use AOs and PILOs’ resources and strategies to address their housing issues. The study used qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with tenants, staff from AOs and PILOs, and landlords as well as observational and archival data. Results of the study evaluated the adaptability of the PADM theory in the context of landlord-tenant relationships and provided insights into tenants’ perceptions about their housing issues in the private rental sector.

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