Everyone needs a home, and even more during a pandemic.

High demand for rental flats across European cities has contributed to make housing a very attractive investment. At at time when many people can’t find an affordable and decent flat to live, reports of a huge increase in investment flows into housing across Europe go hand in hand with stories of abusive practices by ‘corporate landlords’, companies that buy and rent out housing for profit.

Where is all that money coming from? Who are the companies and investors buying so much housing across Europe? How does this phenomenon affect people’s lives and homes in European cities?

During a period of more than seven months, a team of over 25 investigative and data journalists and visualisations experts from 16 European countries, have been working on the cross-border collaborative project Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe.

We wanted to find the data and visualise these developments, and document their effects on our cities and in people’s lives. We found that since the financial crisis international investment funds and housing corporations have been buying up homes across European cities and there are different critical issues connected to this.

You can scroll down to see a list of the stories we have published so far, and you can read more about the investigation and its main findings on the About page.

Finding all the relevant data is being a challenge due to a lack of transparency by corporate landlords, and we would like Cities for Rent to become the start of an open collaborative effort towards more cross-border research into the crisis of housing affordability in European cities and how that affects people’s lives.

On this site, we are sharing our research methodology and its limitations, and our approach to data visualisation; and we are making available a data catalogue describing all the data sets we have been gathering and generating ourselves.

If you have comments or questions, or if you want to contribute data or to research corporate landlords yourself, do get in touch.

Publications

Planned, launched and coordinated by
Arena for Journalism in Europe

Data visualisation by the
Tagesspiegel Innovation Lab

This investigation was supported by an IJ4EU grant

Mapping partner