Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe

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 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, coordinated by Arena for Journalism in 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.

Read more about the investigation and find the stories published by the media partners.

Media partners for Cities for Rent: Investigating Corporate Landlords Across Europe:
– Austria, Vienna: ORF
– Belgium, Brussels: Apache
– Czech Republic, Prague: Deník Referendum
– Denmark, Copenhagen: Information
– France, Paris: WeReport (investigation and reporting) and Mediapart ( publishing partner)
– Germany, Berlin: Tagesspiegel
– Greece, Athens: AthensLive (English) and Reporters United (Greek)
– Ireland, Dublin: Dublin Inquirer
– Italy, Milan: IrpiMedia
– Netherlands, Amsterdam: Follow the Money
– Norway, Oslo: E24
– Portugal, Lisbon: Expresso
– Slovakia, Bratislava: Aktuality
– Spain, Madrid: elDiario.es
– Switzerland, Zurich, Reflekt (investigation and reporting) and Republik (publishing partner)

The investigation was supported by a grant from Investigative Journalism for Europe.

The coronavirus fuels journalistic collaborations

The coronavirus has given new aspects to the Arena Housing Project and the collaboration in the network – and at the same time, new problems arise in the housing field because of the virus.

The Arena Housing Project is a result of the Dataharvest 2019 conference, where many sessions focused on the housing crisis in Europe.

One of Arena’s main goals is to inspire, create and coordinate networks to promote and facilitate cross-border collaborative journalism. The present crisis has made even clearer how important collaborative journalism is when we want to research and report on complex issues that don’t care about borders. The Housing Network now has 176 persons affiliated – mainly journalists, but also housing experts from academia, activists and others.

We build resources together – shared databases and interactive map

Everybody was told to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. But what about those who don’t have a home? The homeless population is vulnerable even at the best of times, and they are especially at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic because they have little access to hygiene, and many have bad health. Continue reading “The coronavirus fuels journalistic collaborations”