The Chicago apartment market typically slows down in the winter season, one reason why local landlords don’t like to have leases expiring during the winter months.
Some landlords offer incentives to winter renters who are willing to sign a lease that expires during the more active spring and summer seasons.
One building, for example, is offering renters the option of a month’s free rent on a 12-month lease or a month-and-a-half free on a 15 month lease. The free rent is almost always required to be taken early in the lease rather than amortized in a lower monthly payment. If you’re analyzing what the incentive is worth, a free month is an 8.33% discount on a 12-month lease and 1.5 months is a 10% discount on a 15-month lease.
You can also occasionally find discount offers for less than 12-month leases, but they’re not as common.