The latest publication for the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (PNG NRI) has been released as PNG NRI Discussion Paper No. 174. The Discussion Paper is authored by Lewis Iwong, Research Project Officer and Dr Elizabeth Kopel, Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader of Informal Economy Research Program.

This paper is based on a case study of informal rental housing in Ensisi Valley, a formally planned and built residential suburb in the National Capital District of PNG. The objective of the study was to identify the factors driving the informal rental housing market and its challenges and opportunities. The findings show that landlords that let part or all of their homes on rent informally come from diverse social and economic backgrounds. The main reason for providing their homes for rent is to earn additional income to compliment household income and sustain livelihoods. 

Informal rental housing provision is mainly based on verbal agreements and mutual trust without formal written contracts. The informal nature of arrangements benefits both parties, but it also leaves room for abuse and exploitation of one party by the other and neither party is protected.

The increasing number of occupants in extended or converted properties that were originally built for nuclear family units creates additional problems of excess demand on utility services as a result of overcrowding. This results in issues associated with property wear and tear and an increase in maintenance costs.

This is an important urban development issue that requires the government to intervene with policy and regulatory supervision and oversight. This intervention will ensure that new residential housing developments and extensions and renovations of housing for rental purposes adhere to the existing policies and regulations. 

The report can be accessed on the PNG NRI website:; and social media pages:

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