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Article, Refereed Journal

Landlords and Tenants in Informal 'Colonia' Settlements in Texas

Housing Studies, 29 (2).

Noah J. Durst

Owner-occupied self-help and self-managed housing has been the norm in colonias—low-income informal settlements along the US–Mexico border—so scholarly treatment of renting in these settlements has been limited. This article adds to the scant literature on this topic and is the first to document the nature of renting in multi-unit rental complexes in colonias. The article explores the characteristics of landlords and their motivations for pursuing landlordism by drawing upon key informant interviews with owners of rental property. The results of 47 surveys conducted with households in multi-unit complexes throughout 18 colonias in Starr County, as well as the results from intensive, conversational case study interviews with selected households, are used to illustrate the precarious and informal nature of renting in colonias and provide a limited portrayal of the housing preferences and needs of renters. The article ends with an evaluation of the policy implications of these findings.

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