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Current & Recent Research at Penn Law

File: [View Document]
Author: Corbett, Angus
Citation: Angus Corbett, "A review of three models for enforcing housing codes" (2017) (Paper prepared for The Center of Public Health Law Research at Temple University School of Law as part of Robert Wood Johnson Research Project entitled 5 Essential Public Health Services Project).
Date Published: 2017
Date Posted: 01/04/2018
This memo addresses the question of how local governments can enforce housing codes to enable low- income tenants to live in safe and healthy housing. It reviews the market for low-cost rental housing and provides an outline of the “dynamics” of this market. The memo identifies three models in use today for enforcing housing codes: the “deterrence” model, the strategic code enforcement model and a meta-regulation model. The memo uses regulatory theory to analyze the interaction between each of these models and the dynamics of the low-cost rental market for housing. This analysis reveals that local governments often enforce housing codes in ways that reinforce practices that result in low-income tenants living in unsafe and unhealthy housing. It also identifies the potential for local governments to use enforcement to influence the dynamics of the low-cost market for rental housing to enable low-income tenants to live safety and healthy housing. These enforcement approaches require collaboration between local and state governments, the federal government and community organizations.