Skip to content


Assessing risk and security in the housing market: a mixed-methods exploration of involuntary mobility -PhD thesis-


Publication date



In this thesis, a conceptual definition of involuntary mobility is developed and used to estimate the incidence of such mobility between the years 2010 and 2012. This definition is then employed to understand how risk is structured in the housing market and how this impacts on the subjective sense of security derived from the home. The work of authors such as Beck (1992a; 1992b; 1994; 1999; 2010a; 2010b; 2011) and Giddens (1991), which considers risk as an inherent part of social structures, is drawn upon. This informs the adoption of the concept of precarity, which is utilised in order to understand the tenure arrangements in the private rented sector. Three empirical strands are drawn on. These are; the compilation of figures on individual reasons for residential mobility in order to build an incidence estimate for the years 2010–2012; the combination of two datasets, the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society, to assess the frequency of multiple involuntary moves; and the assessment through semi-structured interviewing of the impact that the ending by landlords of tenancies has on the subjective security tenants derive from their homes. It is found that involuntary mobility is widespread, and risk is seen to be an inherent part of the life course and embedded in the structures of the housing market. The concept of precarity, as it applies to the housing market, is reflected on. It is argued that precarity emerges at the intersection between legal and structural factors, here the tenancy agreement, the nature of private landlordism, and the structure of the private rented sector as a collection of small-scale landlords. Finally, it is found that the experience of such precariousness has a notable impact on the experience of private renting and the extent to which individuals feel ‘at home’ in the tenure.


Geography, Life Course Analysis, and Housing Market


British Library EThOS -


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest