Over the past few decades, many homeowners in North American cities have engaged in the practice of converting under-utilised spaces in their house (such as basements and attics) into self-contained apartments known as accessory dwelling units or secondary suites. Such apartments are then often rented out in order to generate ‘mortgage helper’ revenue. Homeowners-cum-landlords often benefit from professional expertise received from real estate agents and mortgage brokers at the initial stages of entering this private rental housing market. But interviews I conducted in Vancouver with homeowners renting out secondary suites reveal that the ‘lay expertise’ required to navigate ongoing participation in this rental market is often generated by homeowner-landlords themselves. All the same, the interviews also provide evidence that not all homeowner-landlords succeed in developing or acquiring sufficient lay expertise. The production and circulation of this lay knowledge, I conclude, are contingent rather inevitable processes.

Additional Metadata
Keywords accessory dwelling units, Expert knowledge, housing markets, lay knowledge, secondary suites
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/0308518X16657550
Journal Environment and Planning A
Mendez, P. (2016). Professional experts and lay knowledge in Vancouver’s accessory apartment rental market. Environment and Planning A, 48(11), 2223–2238. doi:10.1177/0308518X16657550