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The rise of financial landlords has turned rental apartments into a vehicle for profit.

As huge firms including REITs drive rents, governments must move to treat housing as a home. An obvious step is to stop preferential tax treatment.

The multi-family apartment rental sector in Canada is being transformed by the rise of “financial landlords” – huge corporate firms that acquire properties as investment products. They include private equity firms, asset managers, publicly listed companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and financial institutions.

While the structures of these firms differ, they are united in their treatment of apartment homes as financial assets. This shift toward financial ownership matters. Researchers who study financialization in the global economy describe how such firms operate with a single-minded focus on delivering investor profits. This leads them to subordinate other objectives, including social, environmental or equity-related goals, as a result. When it comes to apartments, finance capital values high revenues over preserving affordable, high-quality apartments for all residents… [Read More]