As life (finally) returns to normal after two years of pandemic restrictions, rents are on the rise in major Canadian cities. 

It's a contrast to the thick of the pandemic when rents dropped in Canada’s urban centres, as downtown offices remained closed and lockdown restrictions inspired a collective re-evaluation of living spaces -- and a subsequent move out of the city core for many.

As rents fell and vacancy rates increased, landlords and property managers began to offer move-in incentives to potential tenants. While rents are now climbing toward pre-pandemic levels, move-in incentives are still actually a reality, according to

In reviewing the Network sites --,,,, and -- incentives are alive and well in most of the major cities. The only exception is Vancouver, where renters pay the most in the country to keep a roof over their heads. But even in the west coast city, a few promotions can still be found. 

“They might not be as varied or creative as incentives pitched during the height of the pandemic, but these promotions are still abundant,” writes's Michael Somoza in a report. The height of the pandemic saw move-in incentives that included things like free phones.

Across the country, most promotional offers for prospective tenants include things like one or two months free rent with signed leases, cash bonuses, gift cards, or free cable and/or Internet service for a prescribed period. “In June, more landlords are offering prorated first month free rent, which basically means more affordable rent through the year,” writes Somoza. 


In Toronto, rents continue to climb as the city comes back to life in all of its bustling glory. Yet, there are no shortage of incentives, especially for older or renovated buildings throughout the city says Prospective Toronto tenants will find promotions for one month’s free rent, gift cards, or move-in bonuses -- all worthwhile as rents continue to increase. Many incentives are for select units. One Toronto apartment building is currently offering free rent for the 13th month, plus a $500 gift card from your choice of Amazon, Homesense, Costco, or Wayfair

During the height of the pandemic, Montreal saw many and varied incentives offered to prospective renters, says Somoza. While there are not as many incentives can be found this month in Montreal, incentives are still being offered, especially for renovated older buildings. One month’s free rent is the most popular promotion, but prospective renters can also find gift cards and student specials. One rental listing for a studio apartment in Montreal is offering $250 Visa gift cards.

Vancouver has had the highest rents in Canada for some time now, according to the monthly National Rent Report. “With high rents and low vacancy rates, the city’s landlords and property managers have not needed incentives to rent their homes,” writes Somoza. However, when taking a deeper search, a few can still be found. One Vancouver listing is offering a free month of rent on a one-year lease; two free months of rent on a two-year lease; and a signing bonus of up to $500 (bonuses vary so inquire with the leasing team).

Meanwhile, in Calgary rents are also continuing to rise. According to’s latest National Rent Report, average monthly rent in May in Calgary was up almost 14% year over year for both a one-and two-bedroom home. But rents are still reasonable and vacancy rates are high compared to other big cities across the country, so landlords and property owners offer numerous and a variety of incentives to prospective tenants in Calgary. These incentives  include one or two months free rent, free cable or parking and student specials. For example, a two bedroom apartment is offering renters to save up to one month with exclusive rates on TELUS Optik TV and high-speed Internet. Students receive a $300 move-in bonus.

canada buy home single incomeCity skyline of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

In Edmonton rents are rising, but not nearly as fast as Calgary. According to’s latest National Rent Report, average monthly rent in Edmonton in May was up almost 4% year over year for both a one- and two-bedroom home. “Edmonton Is a gold mine for affordable rent and incentives compared to the other big cities,” writes Somoza. And the incentives are a little more colourful in Edmonton too. Taking it beyond months of free rent, Edmonton offers include $600 Amazon gift cards, free groceries, gift cards, free internet, free parking, and $1,000 lease signing bonuses and student/senior/military/first responders specials. For example, one listing offers one month free rent on a 12-month lease; free Telus TV and Internet for one year; and a $600 Amazon gift card upon move-in on a 12-month lease.

Winnipeg also has affordable rents in Canada, and landlords and property managers continue to offer move-in incentives to prospective tenants, says Somoza. Common promotions in Winnipeg include one month free rent, $500 move-in bonuses, free internet, and student incentives. Students in particular receive many move-in incentives in Winnipeg. One listing's special student promotion includes month-to-month renting for students plus a $500 move-in bonus with the option of one month free rent when leasing for three months and a $500 referral bonus.