The housing market in Canada has never been as hot as it is right now. Prices of homes and rent rates in both Toronto and Vancouver are surging to new levels, leaving countless first-time buyers locked out of buying a home and becoming landlords.

For investors looking to fast-track becoming landlords to get monthly rental income, there is some hope. They can invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs have been steadily gaining in popularity lately as great investment options.

Here are a few companies to invest in that will pay handsome distributions.

Boardwalk REIT

Boardwalk REIT (TSX:BEI.UN) has a portfolio of over 33,000 mostly mid- to large-sized residential properties that are located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.  The stock currently trades at $58.63. It’s up by 11.68% in the past three months and up by 23.56% year to date. Longer term, the stock is up by 126% over the past decade, representing 12% growth every year.

In terms of a distribution, Boardwalk pays out a monthly distribution of $0.19 per share, giving it a yield of 3.84%. When adding both the growth prospects and distribution prospects into play, the upside to owning the stock becomes more evident.

Another interesting aspect of Boardwalk is that it continues to seek out new growth opportunities by acquiring developments wherever they may arise. The company recently acquired a 238-unit community in Calgary that will add over 200,000 square feet of space to its growing portfolio.

Northview Apartment REIT

Northview Apartment REIT (TSX:NVU.UN) is another residential REIT with huge potential. The company is not only the third-largest REIT on the market, but it also has a portfolio spread across Canada. In addition to residential properties that make up the bulk of Northview’s portfolio, the company has a number of commercial properties that make up about 15% of all properties it owns.

The company currently trades at $22.37 and is up by 20% over the past three months. Year to date, the stock is doing even better, trading up by 27% over the current price.

Northview pays out a monthly distribution of $0.1358 per share, giving the stock a very impressive yield of 7.28%. The company has also established a precedent for raising that distribution in each of the past three years, and, given the current stock growth, the company is in line to continue this trend moving forward.

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (TSX:CAR.UN) is another residential REIT that has massive potential. Canadian Apartment Properties has a large portfolio of over 47,000 properties that are split between over 41,000 residential properties mostly comprised of apartment buildings and town homes, and approximately 6,500 land-lease sites.

Canadian Apartment Properties currently trades at $33.40, and the stock is trending up by 14% in the past three months. Year to date, the stock shows an impressive 24% increase, and expanding this out even further shows a 100% increase over the past decade.

Distribution-wise, Canadian Apartments pays out a monthly distribution of $0.10 per share, which, given the current price, gives the stock a yield of 3.74%. Investors looking for a long-term investment with monthly distributions will be more than pleased with the nearly 10% growth each year in addition to the monthly distribution.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.