Skip to content

What Are Rent Concessions, and How Do They Boost Occupancy and Revenue

Rent concessions can help you fill vacancies, increase occupancy, and improve tenant satisfaction and loyalty. However, they come with some trade-offs and challenges. We both know they can reduce the profitability and value of the property and create unrealistic expectations for future tenants.

In this article, we will explain the different types of rent concessions, the pros and cons of offering them, and the best practices and tips for using them. More importantly, you’ll get to see how to create a win-win situation for both you and your tenants by using them strategically. You will also learn how ApartmentIQ can help you monitor and analyze your rent concession performance to ensure you never offer them at a loss.

The Different Types of Rent Concessions

Rent concessions can take many forms, depending on your preferences, the tenant's needs, and the market situation. Some of the most common types of rent concessions are:

  • Rent reduction: The monthly rent can be lowered for a certain period, usually a few months or a year. For example:
    • Original Monthly Rent: $1,500
    • Rent Reduction Offer: $200 off for the first three months
    • Revised Rent for Initial Period: $1,300 per month for the first three months
    • After Initial Period: Reverts to the original rent of $1,500 per month

In this scenario, the manager provides a temporary reduction in the monthly rent to attract tenants or to accommodate specific circumstances like renovations or upgrades.

  • Security deposit waiver: The landlord can waive the security deposit, which is usually equivalent to one month's rent, or reduce it to a smaller amount. For example: 
    • Standard Security Deposit: One month's rent, i.e., $1,500
    • Security Deposit Waiver Offer: No security deposit required
    • Revised Move-In Costs: Tenant only pays the first month's rent and any applicable fees

Here, the manager eliminates the need for a security deposit, easing the financial burden on the tenant at the beginning of the lease. This can make the rental property more appealing to potential tenants who may have budget constraints.

  • Free or discounted amenities: Free or discounted services, amenities, or upgrades to the tenant, such as utilities, parking, internet, cable, laundry, gym, pool, etc. For example:
    • Original Rent: $1,800 per month.
    • Amenity Offer: Free high-speed internet and 25% discount on gym membership.
    • Revised Rent with Amenities: $1,800 per month (includes internet) + $75 gym membership (25% discount applied)

In this case, the manager enhances the tenant's living experience by providing complimentary amenities, making the rental property more attractive and cost-effective.

  • Move-in incentives: A one-time bonus or gift can be offered to the tenant upon signing the lease, such as a cash rebate, a gift card, a free month of rent, etc, to make the decision to move in more appealing and financially beneficial for the tenant. For example:
    • Standard Monthly Rent: $2,000
    • Move-in Incentive Offer: $750 cash rebate upon signing the lease
    • Revised Effective Monthly Rent: $1,250 for the first month (after deducting the $750 rebate)
    • Subsequent Monthly Rent: $2,000

Rent concessions are becoming more prevalent and generous in the US, especially in urban areas where the rental market is oversaturated and the demand is low. Zillow recently reported that, 30% of listings offered at least one concession in 2022. This means that nearly one in three renters received some form of rent concession in 2022.

Possible Pitfalls of Offering Rent Concessions

Without a meticulously-crafted strategy, rent concessions can quickly eat into your profit margin, lower your property value, and set an unprofitable precedent for future tenants.

To avoid such, let’stake a close look at some of these pitfalls.

  • Rent concessions lower your effective rent and net operating income and consequently hammer your profitability and property value. This will affect your return on investment, ability to pay your mortgage, and your potential resale value.
  • Rent concessions can create unrealistic expectations for future tenants, who may demand similar or better deals. It might make it harder for you to raise your rent or remove your concessions when the market improves. It can also create resentment among your existing tenants, who may feel that they are paying more than the new ones.
  • Rent concessions can have hidden costs, terms, and conditions, that may not be apparent to you or your tenants. For example:
    • Original Rent: $1,500 per month
    • Rent Concession Offer: $200 off for the first three months
    • Revised Rent for Initial Period: $1,300 per month for the first three months

Hidden Costs and Conditions

  • Tax Obligations: The landlord may be required to report the rent concession as taxable income. In this case, the $600 reduction over three months could be subject to income tax.
  • Lender Notification: Some mortgage agreements require landlords to notify their lenders about any changes in the terms of the lease. The lender may need to be informed about the temporary reduction in rental income.
  • Insurance Implications: Rent concessions might need to be disclosed to the property insurer. Failure to inform the insurer about changes in rental terms could lead to coverage issues in case of a claim.

How to Use Rent Concessions Strategically and Sparingly

Here are some tips and best practices on how to use rent concessions strategically and sparingly:

  • Offer rent concessions only when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to offer rent concessions only when the vacancy rate is higher than 10% and to limit them to no more than 10% of the monthly rent.
  • Negotiate rent concessions fairly and transparently. Do your market research and know the fair market value of your property and units. Then communicate clearly and honestly with your tenants and prospects, and explain the terms and conditions of the rent concessions. Avoid making unrealistic or misleading promises, or changing the rent concession terms without notice.
  • Track and evaluate rent concessions regularly and accurately. You should use reliable and efficient tools and systems to monitor and analyze your rent concession performance and its impact on your bottom line. This means measuring and comparing key metrics, such as rent, occupancy, vacancy, turnover, tenant satisfaction, etc.
  • Feel free to give rent concessions if:
    • Competitors are offering them,
    • A property has unique features that might not appeal to a broad market,
    • Renewing leases is cheaper than attracting new renters due to turnover costs,
    • The market has low rental rates,
    • You have many unoccupied units,

Optimize Your Rent Concession Strategy With ApartmentIQ.

We are talking about live analysis of your rental rates, occupancy, vacancy, and more in the palm of your hands. This translates into real-time data and insights on your rent concession performance and impact, along with personalized recommendations on how to adjust your rent concession strategy based on market conditions and customer behavior. With ApartmentIQ, you can easily and effectively use rent concessions to boost your occupancy and revenue, creating a win-win situation for both you and your tenants.

Want to learn more about how this superpower works? Request a free demo to see how we can help you take your property management business to the next level.

Don't miss this opportunity to get ahead of the competition and grow your revenue with ApartmentIQ.