Rental Repair and Renovation in Canada (RRES)

Statistics Canada
Socio-Economic Series Issue 43
January 1/1996
Statistics Canada study on behalf of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): Information on expenditures made by landlords on repairs and renovations to private rental units.

Rental Repair and Renovation in Canada
This study presents data highlights and analysis from the Rental Repair and Renovation Expenditure Survey (RRRES) conducted by Statistics Canada in 1996 on behalf of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The RRRES provides, for the first time, information on expenditures made by landlords on repairs and renovations to private rental units. (This data is complementary to the information on repair and renovation work undertaken by homeowners, which is collected annually by Statistics Canada through the Homeowner Repair and Renovation Expenditure Survey.) Repairs and renovations made to public rental units, or paid for by tenants, are excluded.

The RRRES was administered to a sub-sample of dwellings in the Labour Force Survey.A total of 4,062 interviews were completed — a response rate of 49.3 per cent.

Respondents were asked to report repair and renovation expenditures (both costs of materials and contracted work) for the following types of work:

Additions. Structural extensions or additions to the property.
Renovations and alterations. Work done that was intended to upgrade the property to acceptable building or living standards, to rearrange the interior space or to modernize existing facilities in order to suit changing needs without changing the type of occupancy.
Replacement of equipment. Installation of equipment that replaces an existing unit, including upgrading equipment to a superior level of quality and conversion from one type of unit to another.
New installations. The installation of equipment that either did not previously exist on the property or was installed in addition to the equipment on the property.
Repairs and maintenance. Expenditures made on an existing structure or piece of equipment to keep it in good working condition and appearance so as to maintain it in “as new” a condition as possible.

   Repair and renovation work done by landlords on private rental units is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, amounting to some $3.8 billion in 1995. (In addition, public-sector landlords are estimated to have spent some $0.6 billion, and tenants some $0.3 billion out of their own pockets.The total expenditure would amount to $4.7 billion, of which landlord spending on private rental units would account for 81 per cent.)
Most private rental units (over 83 per cent) underwent some type of repair and renovation work in 1995. Only a small proportion underwent extensive work (involving expenditures of at least $5,000 a unit), but this group accounted for one third of total landlord spending on private rental units.
Essential work (i.e., repairs and maintenance) is much more common than desirable upgrades (i.e., additions, renovations and alterations, and new installations).About four out of five units underwent some repair and maintenance work, but only one in three received additions or new installations or underwent renovation.
Average per-unit repair and renovation spending by landlords on private rental units was highest in the Prairies and Ontario and lowest in Quebec and British Columbia.

In general, average spending per unit was higher on lower-density units (such as single-detached, doubles, row and duplexes) than on higher-density units (high-rise and low-rise apartments).
On average, rental units older than 25 years had more repair and renovation work done to them in 1995.

Rental units accounted for approximately $3 out of every $10 spent on total residential repair and renovation work in Canada in 1995.

Average per-unit spending by landlords on repair and renovation work on private rental units was about three quarters of the amount spent by homeowners.This substantially lower average spending on rental units appears, at least in part, to reflect the different composition of the rental and ownership stock; apartment units comprise a much larger proportion of the rental stock, and average per-unit spending on this dwelling type, whether owned or rented, is below the average per-unit spending for all dwelling types.


Project Manager:Roger Lewis
Research Report: Rental Repair and Renovation in Canada, 1998.
Research Consultant: Clayton Research Associates Limited

A full report on this project is available from the Canadian Housing Information Centre.

For a complete list of Research Highlights, or for more information on CMHC housing research and information, please contact:

The Canadian Housing Information Centre
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
700 Montreal Road Ottawa,
ON K1A 0P7
Telephone: 613 748-2367
FAX: 613 748-2098

Under Part IX of the National Housing Act, the Government of Canada provides funds to CMHC to conduct research into the social, economic and technical aspects of housing and related fields, and to undertake the publishing and distribution of the results of this research. This fact sheet is one of a series intended to inform you of the nature and scope of CMHC’s research report. The Research Highlights fact sheet is one of a wide variety of housing related publications produced by CMHC.

The information in this publication represents the latest knowledge available to CMHC at the time of publication and has been thoroughly reviewed by experts in the housing field. CMHC, however, assumes no liability for any damage, injury, expense or loss that may result from the use of this information
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