Owners still offer major incentives

Written by
Laura Hanrahan

Rental markets in major Canadian cities may be on the rise, but landlords are still using incentives and promotions to attract the best tenants to their buildings.

During the pandemic, demand for rental housing in major cities across Canada has plummeted, and with it, rental prices. In an effort to entice tenants to sign with them, many landlords have started offering free months of rent, thousands of dollars in gift cards, free parking, and even free phones. And according to a new report from Rentals.ca, the incentives haven’t gone away – at least not entirely.

From Montreal to Toronto to Calgary and Vancouver, there are still promotions to be found, albeit less creative than those seen during the initial lockdown. The majority now involve a month or two of free rent, gift cards, cash bonuses, or free cable or internet service.


Toronto tenants still have the choice of an abundance of properties offering rental incentives. Most offer a month or two of free rent, but that doesn’t mean those are the only options available.

Tenants who sign a one-year lease at 11-25 Ordnance Street can get a free month’s rent, a one-year membership to Altea Active (an 89,000 square foot fitness club at the bottom of the building), plus a $1,000 signing bonus on select units.

AT 699 Eglinton Avenue Westtenants will receive a $2,500 Visa gift card when they move in. And to 15 Dundonald Street, 433 Jarvis Streetand 90 Eastdale Avenue, they offer a free month’s rent. AT 730 Dovercourt Roadrenters get one month free, plus a $100 food delivery gift card.


In Montreal, incentives are mostly found in older buildings or newly renovated housing, the report says. Similar to Toronto, they are largely free to rent, with 3555 Côte-des-Neiges Road, 1212 Avenue des Pins Westand 25 Avenue des Pins West all offering a free month. Signing of a lease for an indoor unit 1682 Lincoln Ave Where 4820 Chemin de la Côte Sainte Catherine will give you two months free.

A less exciting, but still useful promotion of a $100 laundry gift card can be found at 1650-1670 Rue Deguire. And to 981 Gulf Squarethey offer a $500 move-in bonus on select suites.


Incentives are a little harder to come by in the west coast city, according to Rentals.ca, with its higher average rents and low vacancy rate. Even at the height of the pandemic, rental incentives were hard to come by. But they are not non-existent.

Buildings like 825 8th Avenue East, 1255 Pendrell Streetand 1668 Davie Street offer one month free rent. And the Davie Street building comes with an additional $250 signing bonus. During this time at 4188 Yew Streettenants can get half a month free on one-year leases or a full month free on two-year leases.

Units to 3370 Dewdney Trunk Road and 1022 Nelson Street will give you utility-focused incentives, with the former offering free TELUS service for a year and a free $100 Compass card, and the latter offering 25% off TELUS Optik TV and Internet.


Calgary is full of rental incentives in both new and old buildings, especially if you are a student, senior, military, or first responder. This abundance is largely due to the high vacancy rate in the city – something that will likely remain for the long term, according to Rentals.ca.

AT 2905 Unwin Road NW, L208-1919 University Drive NWand 2010 Ulster Road NW, you can get up to one month free plus a $200 energy savings credit and exclusive rates on TELUS Optik TV and Internet. Students also get a move-in bonus of $300. And to 2416 16th Avenue NWyou get a free month and a $250 bonus when you refer a friend.

But maybe the best deal can be found at 661 7th Avenue SE where tenants can get two months free rent plus one year free heated parking.


With an even higher vacancy rate than Calgary (and even cheaper rents), rental incentives aren’t hard to come by in Edmonton. Some buildings like Oliver Place in 10130 117 Street NW offer a standard two months free, but others get a little more creative.

AT 10142 111 Street, they’re offering free TELUS TV and Internet for a year, plus a $600 Amazon gift card. And to 11808 100th Aveyou can get a free month, a year of free TV and internet, a $600 Amazon gift card, and a reduced security deposit.

More than 10639 112 Street NW, you can choose your promotion: either half of your first month’s rent or $30 off each month.

Written by
Laura Hanrahan

Laura has covered real estate in Toronto, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Before coming to STOREYS as an editor, she worked as an urbanized editor in Toronto for Daily Hive.

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