Saskatchewan

Regina landlords offer rent incentives as vacancy rises

With the vacancy rate at 5.4 per cent in Regina, renters can expect to be offered many perks.

Free wi-fi, laundry, even rent being offered to tenants

The apartment vacancy rate in Regina was 5.4 per cent in fall of 2015. (Abby Schneider/CBC)

The Regina rental scene is a much different place than five years ago.

The vacancy rate is growing which means landlords have to work harder to attract renters and many are doing so with incentives. 

There are offers of free wi-fi, laundry and parking but the incentives get much bigger than that.

You can find deals where tenants can get gift cards for just paying rent on time. One company is asking for security deposits as low as $399. Another company will decrease the rent if the tenant signs a one-year lease.

North Prairie Developments Ltd. recently started a program where a portion of a tenant's monthly rent goes into a special savings account. The money can be used later if the tenant chooses to buy a house from the company. 

Dawn Dallyn runs Dawn's Rentals in Regina and has been in the rental industry for almost 10 years. She says the market has changed drastically.

Dallyn currently manages about 250 properties and says it's been difficult competing with units in the city that are brand new.

One of her clients is trying to attract renters by using an incentive where if a tenant signs a one year lease and pays their rent on time for six months, they get the seventh month for free.

Dallyn says it's a win-win situation for both the renter and property owner.
This graph from the CMHC shows apartment vacancy rates from October of each year. The information is on based on private rental apartment structures with three or more units. (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Vacancy rate on the rise

According to a recent report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the apartment vacancy rate for Regina for the fall of 2015 was at 5.4 per cent. That's up more more than two percent from the previous year. 

CMHC stated one of the reasons for this is Saskatchewan's weak energy sector which has slowed economic activity and means less people are moving to the province for work.

There was also a jump in the actual amount of places to rent in Regina.

Despite the increasing vacancy rates, rent continues to rise. The average rent in Regina for a 2 bedroom apartment in October of 2015 was $1097. That's up $18 from 2014.  

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