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The University of Southampton

LAWS3071 Renting Homes: Law and Policy

Module Overview

If you are interested in understanding the law that regulates the relationship between those who rent their homes and their landlord, then this half option is the course for you. The underlying theme is to consider the tension that exists in the landlord-tenant relationship where someone's home is at stake. The course covers both those who rent from a private landlord and those who rent from a local authority (i.e. council housing), as well as those who have no home. We will look at the various statutory schemes that regulate these types of tenancy, including such issues as how people can lose their homes by being evicted by their landlord. We will also examine the implications of human rights provisions for housing law and consider how the law deals with people who are homeless. In addition to examining what the law is, we also consider the policy that underpins it and look at how it has changed during the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, in response to particular housing problems.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the basic principles of the law of landlord and tenant;
  • the scope of the statutory protection of tenants in residential properties;
  • an introduction to the uses and functions of housing law in society in the light of broader housing policy issues.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop your technical skills in discovering, interpreting and applying the main principles of housing law, derived from both statute and case law;
  • develop a critical awareness of, and a critical appreciation of, the uses and functions of Housing Law in the context of housing policy issues.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material;
  • formulate an effectively reasoned and structured argument;
  • communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence;
  • display objectivity and balance in written work.


Private Rented Sector A The history of state control of privately rented housing B Tenancies fully protected under the Rent Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1988 Public Rented Sector C Housing policy and the history of council housing D The legal framework of the Housing Act 1985, Housing Act 1996 and Homelessness Act 2002 E Succession in the private and public sectors F Homelessness G Housing and Human Rights

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching programme comprises 10, 2 hour, weekly seminars and 4, 1 hour fortnightly tutorials. Teaching methods include: - Seminars and tutorials for which preparation is required. Learning activities include: - Directed reading and independent research assisted by reading lists - Accessing resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials - Reviewing and evaluating complex material - Formulating and presenting in oral and written form reasoned and structured arguments Preparation for, and participation at, seminars and tutorials will develop: - Knowledge of the substantive principles and rules of housing law - Appreciation of constructive criticism of the law and the policy that underpins it - Ability to manage and access diverse range of sources of law, especially statutory material and case law - Ability to critically evaluate those sources and participate constructively in oral discussions concerning them - Ability to structure and express thoughts in logically coherent way

Completion of assessment task50
Wider reading or practice8
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Follow-up work8
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Cowan (2011). Housing Law and Policy. 

Arden and Hunter (2012). Manual of Housing Law. 

Morgan (2007). Aspects of Housing Law. 



Exam question


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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