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Alberta’s capital sees more apartments being packaged with incentives

Click to play video: 'Incentive-laden rentals popping up in Edmonton' Incentive-laden rentals popping up in Edmonton
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's capital appears to be increasingly becoming a renter's market. A number of creative incentives are being offered by landlords to lure in renters, but are renters enticed by them? Vinesh Pratap reports – Feb 16, 2016

EDMONTON – A growing number of incentive-laden apartment ads are leading some to question whether Edmonton is finally becoming a renter’s market again.

“We decided to do the one month free rent – which is amortized over 12 months,” said Trina Ryan, a property manager with 15 years of experience. “This is the worst I have ever seen the industry.”

Ryan is in the process of trying to fill vacancies in two brand new apartment buildings.

Some renters say while rental prices are going down and more incentives are being offered, Alberta’s capital remains a difficult place to find affordable housing.

“It’s (incentives) still not cutting it because it only covers for a month or two of lower rent,” said Eva Vanier, a single mother who has been looking for a place for months.

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“There’s lots of competition… because we have three buildings that are opening,” Ryan said. “Plus, we know there are lots of other companies out there that have new buildings opening.”

Part of the apparent surge in vacancies is because buildings being planned and built before the economic downturn are now making units available. As a result, landlords and rental agencies are coming up with creative ways to try and attract renters, like grocery store credits, free use of on-site gyms, and free months of rent. One company is even offering to enter renters into a contest where they can win free rent for a year.

READ MORE: Rent getting cheaper and more apartments available in Edmonton: report

Sandy Pon of the Alberta Residential Landlord Association, says incentives can be an effective way to induce potential renters to act, but cautions against making decisions based on them without a closer look.

“Incentives always pop up,” Pon said. “But… there’s always conditions with those incentives.”

Vanier said she’s in the midst of considering signing a lease for a new apartment but will look closely at all the numbers first.

“I have to think about feeding my children, day care for my children – bills and stuff,” she said.

With files from Vinesh Pratap

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