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Free rent offers rare in Okanagan and Kamloops

This offer of one month's free rent may only last until Sunday.
September 12, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KELOWNA - With rental vacancy rates lingering below two per cent in Kamloops and the Okanagan for many years, offering free rent to get people to sign leases is something not generally seen.

That’s exactly what's on offer for a new rental building in downtown Kelowna – sign a one year lease by Sunday, Sept. 15 and one month’s rent is free. It’s because, while the building is scheduled to open Oct. 1, all the construction work won’t quite be finished.

“We’ve opened buildings in the past where, during the first month when we’re still working in the building, it can be a little bit noisy,” Louise Pelletier, director of property management for LMP Management Ltd. told “So, we’re giving a little bit back.”

With an official vacancy rate of 1.9 per cent, Kelowna has the highest such rate of the major cities in the Thompson-Okanagan based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data from last fall. It showed Kamloops with the lowest rate at 1.3 per cent with Penticton and Vernon in between.

LMP, which markets 1,175 rental units for Stober Construction, has a vacancy rate for its suites that’s closer to one per cent, Pelletier said.

The one month’s free rent offer went up near the end of July and is scheduled to run out Sunday. But, they have only closed deals on about half of the 108 units in this building – the second of four they will build in the Central Green project at the corner of Highway 97 and Richter St. – so it may be extended, depending on how things go this weekend.

“It’s a great location,” Pelletier said. “It’s within easy walking distance to everything downtown and it’s right beside the highway so it’s easy to get on the Rapid Bus.”

Pelletier knows of no other similar offers in the city but said other landlords may be offering other kinds of incentives.

Rental rates are also competitive with a one-bedroom unit on the ground floor renting for about $1,300. Rates increase on higher floors.

The rental website PadMapper listed the rent for an average one-bedroom suite in Kelowna at $1,280 in July.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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