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Opinion: Desperate landlords resort to promotions to lure you - maybe just drop sky-high rents

Free parking and free rent for a short term being offered
free parking
A promotion by a local landlord.

A variety of factors have slightly switched the renter-landlord dynamic, with desperate landlords having to resort to incentives, promotions and deals to lure tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic. partnered with and to show some samples of incentives being offered on listings in Metro Vancouver.

“Vacancy rates have increased in most of Canada's metropolitan areas as a result of among other things: A halt on immigration; short-term rentals coming on the long-term market; residents moving to smaller communities for more space for home offices for less money; university and college students not returning to campuses; recent graduates still living with their parents; residents being fearful of moving because of the pandemic and more supply coming onto the market,” said a news release about the rental situation.

This situation, sadly, hasn’t meant the price of rents have gone down dramatically. A recent report by Padmapper did find that rents in Vancouver have flatlined for now, but Burnaby still ranked as the 3rd most expensive city to rent in the nation last month. The price of one-bedroom units in Burnaby actually grew 2.4% to a median of $1,700, while two-bedroom units remained flat at $2,200.

But some landlords are offering one or two month's free rent, free parking or a $200 grocery card with a signed lease in order to entice renters.

Perhaps they should just drop their rents to a more liveable number, eh? Rents are at insane levels, making Metro Vancouver an unliveable place. People want cheaper rents instead of grocery cards.

Here are a sample of incentives offered from listings on, and -- Early move-in plus one month free rent, plus a $200 grocery gift card -- Get $500 bonus and six months free parking for select units on new leases. Conditions apply. Limited time offer. -- One month free rent on a one-year lease; two months free rent on a two-year lease; signing bonus: Sign a lease by April 30, 2021, and receive a rental credit up to $500. -- One month free on select units with a signed lease; conditions apply; limited time offer. -- One month free rent with a new lease signed -- Receive two months free rent; limited time promotion. -- One month free on select units with a lease signed.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.