Preserving Affordable Rental Housing: Tenant Opportunity to Purchase, Housing Cooperatives, and Land Trusts

Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Canadian cities and tenants are struggling. Financialized landlords and other investment companies are depleting the affordable rental stock in the private market much faster than new social rental units are being created. One solution is for tenants to have the opportunity to collectively purchase their own buildings when landlords decide to sell. Tenants could convert buildings to limited-equity housing cooperatives leased from a land trust for the long term. In this way, tenants avoid displacement and achieve housing security, and buildings are converted to permanently affordable housing for future generations. Such programs already exists in several American cities, under Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOP) policies. This research, conducted in partnership with the Hamilton Community Land Trust, will evaluate the feasibility of such a program in Hamilton, Ontario. If successful in Hamilton, similar programs could be adopted by land trusts across Canada.

Faculty Supervisor:

Katharine Rankin


Emily Power


Ontario Professional Planners Institute


Geography / Geology / Earth science


Real estate and rental and leasing


University of Toronto



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