The role of institutions in housing markets has a significant bearing on the output and quality of housing. Building and planning regulations in particular help shape how housing is produced, exchanged and consumed. Due to the fragmented and differentiated nature of housing markets across and within countries, an institutional analysis offers the potential to uncover the role of agents and regulations in shaping local housing outcomes. In the past, analysis of the impact of regulations on housing has mainly sought to quantify the effects of specific regulations on housing prices. However, such analyses often fail to appreciate differences in the structures of housing provision in different countries and regions and do not address the implications of different legal structures on the practices of housing agents. This paper critically examines the role of the Federal Government and the State Authority in the provision of low cost housing in a developing region in Malaysia. It shows how rules and regulations condition inter-agency operations in the study area. This paper presents results from a preliminary investigation into how the institutional structure of governance influences the provision of low cost housing.