I am not an agent in Texas, but I just wanted to share a similar tactic that some apartment communities in Florida use, which may be similar to what you are experiencing in Texas.
Usually, when apartment communities offer 2 months free on rentals they are in a situation where they need to raise their occupancy levels despite what they tell you. I've seen this applied in 2 ways:
#1 - If the standard duration of a lease in your area is 12 months in length, they will actually make the contract out for 14 months, those additional 2 months are the free months. In this situation you still get to occupy a unit for 2 months and not pay any rent, but you are still obligated by contract for 14 months in total. In addition, once those 2 months are up their cash flow stays the same... market rate or whatever they set the monthly rate at (usually under market).
#2 - The second option is where they allow you to take those 2 months free and apply ( spread it out ) over the entire duration of the lease, thus lowering your monthly payments. You take your monthly rental amount, multiply it by 2, take that number and divided it by however may months is in the lease ( usually 12 or 14 ), then substract that number from your contract rent. This is called your effective rent, what you actually pay after that incentive.
Apartment communities implement this strategy to cut loses and to retain occupancy over a longer period of time. Their mentality is, since you are living in the community already, you aren't going to want to pay moving costs at the end of your lease. They are setting you up for the increase at the end of the year, and they will surely call it "market rent".
My suggestion to you is, do your research. See what the competitors in the area are charging and go back and try to negotiation with your current community. If you find that market rate is actually lower then what they are trying to charge you, if you find some type of move in special in the area, bring it to their attention. Any intelligent management team of a apartment community will try to keep its tenants. No one actually likes vacancies.... more