Accepted 1st June, 2017.
Rental housing is a vital component in accommodating large numbers of families in less−developed countries and particularly in the major cities. In many major cities of Africa and Asia, more than half of the population are tenants. It is a well-known fact to those familiar with Port Harcourt that there is an acute shortage of housing for all strata of the society in the city. There is gentrification of the private rental market. Private landlords renovate and convert single rooms to self-contained apartments and flats and push out the original occupants who can no longer afford the cost of this type of accommodation. The research was assumed as a cross-sectional survey of all individuals who reside in private estates that had 4 building units and more constructed between 1978 and 2014 in Greater Port Harcourt City (GPHC) these were the target group. The research design used was the “passive-observational” method. The total number of private estate residents interviewed was 400 (ascertained field research). The head of each household was the respondent to each questionnaire as he/she was considered the most knowledgeable about household conditions. Therefore the analysis of responses was based on this number. The study relied on two sources of information - primary and secondary. Primary sources comprised (a) a largely pre-coded questionnaire, administered face-to-face by trained interviewers, (b) Individual Depth Interviews (IDIs) of key informants, (c) direct observation, (d) measurement, and (e) photography. Secondary sources included: (a) unpublished and published material in past theses, books, journals, maps, etc; and (b) the Internet. Data analysis utilised mainly univariate and multivariate statistical analytical techniques. Analysis was carried out with the aid of the microcomputer – adapted Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 16. Some of the findings from the research are; On a 6 - point Likert scale, asking private estate residents what they feel about the rents they pay; the modal rating showed four categories of house types “Too High” and two categories said “About Right. The primary modal reason for residents moving accommodation was “high cost of rent” (21.5%), followed by job related reasons which was 15.25%. The recommendations are; Government needs to regulate rents charged by the private estate developers through the ministry of housing that will set the rates for various house types and locations. Private Landlords will need to operate a functional association in Rivers State as obtained in other developed countries. Private Landlords need to develop their property using locally sourced materials so that the overall cost of building is not too high.
Keywords: Rents, Income Level, Affordability, Housing, Estate Residents