The Financialization of Multi-Family Rental Housing in Canada

This report presents an overview of the financialization of rental housing in Canada. After describing the phenomenon of financialization in general terms, it considers the current state of financialization in Canada’s stock of rental housing by analyzing the policies that have catalyzed it. It interrogates the evolving role of financial firms in the Canadian housing market, with a particular focus on the period during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, how these firms respond to the presence or absence of rent controls, and what their relationship is to the construction of new housing. This is followed by a discussion of the business strategies used by financial firms in the rental housing market as they seek to reduce costs and increase revenues, in particular the practice of “value-add” renovations, and of the impacts of this process on tenants and communities. It concludes with a series of recommendations to track the impacts of financialization, definancialize the rental market, end subsidies to financialized landlords, regulate financial firms, and enact meaningful rent controls and tenant protections.

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