What Is The Right Way To Offer An Apartment Rent Special?

What Is The Right Way To Offer An Apartment Rent Special?
When offering an apartment rent special be sure to know what units you want to offer specials on. Photo credit Fizkes via istockphoto.com

When you need to move quickly to fill some units, is a rent special the right way to go and what is the right way to do it?

So you may have these questions:

  • How long do you run a rent special?
  • How do you know what rent special to offer that will work?
  • How do you do it exactly?

Sometimes the rent special is the quick fix you need and our friend Jake Meador over at Rentping.com has some ideas to think about.

So what makes a good rent special involves two things:

  1. It will offer the prospect something valuable enough to motivate them to rent.
  2. It will minimize the damage done to your bottom line both by long-term vacancy and by the special itself.

“Because of the different needs of different properties, it is hard to be more specific than that in terms of defining a good rent special. However, there are three questions we generally recommend client communities ask themselves when they are trying to move from a general idea of a good rent special to a specific special they wish to offer,” Meador writes on RentPing.com.

What are you offering as incentive?

You can dangle any number of different carrots as rent specials in order to attract prospects. What specific thing does your community have to offer?

It is good to identify all the options and then work backwards by asking yourself what is the easiest for your community to offer and what would be most valued by your residents. When you identify the offer that checks both of those boxes, you probably have identified the benefit you should offer as part of the special.

There are many possible answers to this question:

  • Temporary rent reduction
  • Waived deposit
  • Waived application fee
  • Waived pet deposit
  • Free month of rent
  • Free offers:
    • cable
    • internet
    • parking
  • Special offer:
    • Gift card to area business
    • Discounted membership at a local gym

Does this incentive apply to specific floorplans or units?

Rent specials can become very expensive if you offer them on all vacant units in your community.

On the other hand, they can become very complex and lose their appeal if you offer them more narrowly.

So figuring out what units to offer the special on is an important question for every community to figure out.

When does the rent special end?

If you have a system for tracking occupancy that accounts for both currently occupied units on notice and vacant units that are leased but not yet occupied, then you will have an accurate picture of your occupancy situation at the community.

With that information in hand, you can make informed, sound decisions about when you need a rent special and when you do not, which also means you will know when you can stop using a given rent special.


Rent specials can be a powerful tool to help make fast changes at a struggling property. But it’s an emergency option rather than something you should be leaning on regularly.


Read Jake Meador’s full blog post on this issue here.