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Free Rent? Tenants Have Options as Landlords Offer Incentives

Oct. 27, 2020
3 mins
A happy couple sit amongst boxes in their new apartment

If you’re a renter who’s hunting for new digs, you may have an advantage in finding the apartment or condo you want.

Like so many other things in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, including rental demand in many cities. It’s seemingly a renter’s market these days, and that’s prompting many landlords and property management firms to offer prospective tenants significant incentives as a way to lure them to their available units as they face stiff competition.

In Toronto, owners of Airbnb units may be shifting away from short-term rentals to long-term arrangements since the pandemic has all but squelched travel. Furthermore, in cities where college and university campuses are, many homeowners who typically rely on students to rent rooms in their homes or basement apartments are challenged to find tenants as remote learning is the order of the day.

It all adds up to unprecedented choices for renters. On that note, many landlords are dangling incentives ranging from a month’s worth of free rent to other perks such as reduced rent, free parking or internet, or move-in bonuses. For example, one building in Toronto is offering qualifying tenants free rent until 2021.

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Average rental costs are down in Canada

According to’s October 2020 rent report, the average rent for all Canadian properties listed on that website in September was $1,769 per month, down by 9.5% annually. Here’s how much a one-bedroom apartment costs per month in the five most expensive Canadian cities:

City Monthly Rent Year-Over-Year Change
Toronto $1,967 14.9% decrease
Vancouver $1,941 1.6% decrease
Mississauga, Ontario $1,932 1.4% increase
Burlington, Ontario $1,883 3.4% increase
Kanata, Ontario $1,871 13.7% decrease

The cheapest one-bedroom apartment can be found in Lloydminster, Alberta, for $737 per month.

Don’t forget tenant insurance

Aside from researching your options to find a new place to live, renters should look into getting a tenant insurance policy.

A renter’s insurance policy will provide you with coverage for damage to your belongings as well as some liability protection. Such a policy costs less than you think, and if you bundle it with a car insurance policy, many insurers will provide you with a discount on your bill.

Not all policies and premiums are the same, however. Take the time to explore your tenant insurance options and ensure you are adequately covered for any unexpected mishap or event.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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