Rent as an investment is an idea whose time has come

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What if rent payments were considered investments? July 20

The principle of considering rent as an investment is an old idea whose time may have finally come, especially in light of the current unaffordability of housing.

The principle of “buying into” an asset is already common practice in businesses and financial investments, so why not also for rental housing? Industries also routinely pay (negotiated) benefits such as vacation pay, in addition to basic wages. Treating rent as investment would go a long way in creating a more equitable form of capitalism, in which resources are distributed more fairly.

While it is the property owner who makes the initial investment, that investment would not be viable without renters. As Paul Barton points out, there are many questions that remain to be sorted, but the significance of this principle is that it brings us closer to the notion that housing should be less of a commodity pure and simple for the investor and more of a social goal of an inclusive society.

Vincenzo Pietropaolo, Toronto