Hamna, Renter in Upper East Side, New...

What does it mean when rental adverstisements state that you get one month free with a year's lease. Is there a hidden catch?

Asked by Hamna, Upper East Side, New York, NY Thu Oct 20, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Hamna,

Usually your 1 month free can be a free rent for the first month or the 13th month of your lease. Or you can prorate that amount over your 12 month lease.

There is not really a catch but if you prorate the amount over 12 months, when your renewal comes your increase comes from the original rent amount and not the pro-rated amount.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
It's not so much a catch. Usually when a owner gives out a free rent its because they want the apartments rented right a way. Also most of the time it means you will be paying higher rent per month as usually they will divide the free month by 12 and tack that on. So to be honest its just a way to promote their place uniquely.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 29, 2012
No there is no hidden catch and it all depends on the offer. Read the fine print. Understand what is net rent and monthly rent. Also calculate your broker fee in the calculation to get the true net rent and cost.

Please work with an experienced and licensed real estate broker. That is the best way to find a place in Manhattan. Be wary of brokers that work with only one company. Remember they are doing a job to rent out their unit. Work with a tenant's broker that can show you many places.

Thank you!

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 29, 2012
This incentive (1 month free) is commonly offered by big luxury buildings and on 13 month leases - in this case, if your monthly rent is 3000/month, you would pay 36000 in 13 month, which will bring your effective rent down to $2,769/month
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 27, 2012
There is no catch Hamna,

It traditionally means that on a one year lease your thirteenth month or in some cases, the twelfth month is free. You are still required to pay the first months rent and security up-front. Should you have other questions, I am happy to answer them for you.


Brooke Davida, SVP
The Corcoran Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 2, 2012

There is no catch here. Usually, you will receive one month free on a 13-month lease, with either the 2nd or the 13th month actually being free. Sometimes, you can have the leasing company amortize the free month across the entire lease which will lower your monthly payment, but you will be required to pay all 12 or 13 months.

Travis R. Old
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 2, 2012

1 month is free with a year lease. If you are using a broker, often the free month can go toward the broker fee.

Mitch Hall
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 2, 2011
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
Hi Hamna. No hidden catch and the renter would stand to do well. The short answers are: 1) It could mean that your incentive is a twelve month lease for the price of eleven months rent. 2) you simply get an extra or "free" (13th) month for the price of your one year lease. These might be offered as an incentive to rent so the apartment doesn't linger on the market for too long. Hope this helps. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 22, 2011
Hello Hamna,

There's no catch. When it's advertised, it's also mentioned the terms of the 1 free month and how it will be given. When you read about the a net lease, is because there's a concession of 1 month / or 2 months free and it's already applied in a month by month rent.
If you need any help with your hunt, do not hesitate to contact me!


Laura Thierer
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Homestate Properties
102 Fulton Street
o: 212-693-9000
c: 914-426-0075
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Hello Hamna,

It depends on the landlords requirements, sometimes you have to sign a lease for 13 months, 1.5 years or for two years. You would have to discuss the terms with the broker or landlord. Usually when they advertise the listing they list the terms.


Marina Danilova
Licensed Real Estate Agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
Hi Hamna, all the agents who responded below are right on about the free month, the only thing I'd add is that since the rental market is so strong right now we're not seeing a whole lot of concessions these days (they seem to be limited to properties where a somewhat out of the way location or other drawback may be inhibiting the landlord's ability to rent) and as my colleague below mentioned, when you go to renew the lease, there may (probably wont be) a concession for renewals unless the market has worsened by that time
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
Hamna, usually no catch here. Some questions need to be asked though. You need to find out how they will give you the free month. There are usually two ways they accomplish this. One way, as my colleague stated, is they give you a free month outright at some point during the lease. The other way they can do this is to amortize it in, meaning they add up the total rent due for the entire term of your lease then subtract the free month and then divide by the lease term giving you a lower monthly rent. In both scenarios you get a free month but with amortization it is nice to pay a lower monthly rent. The only possible downside is that when it comes time to renew your lease they may not be giving the free month anymore. Good Luck!

Cyrus Zafaranloo
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
Hi Hamna,

This is very common in my State of Wisconsin, most especially when heading into the winter months. Very often the owners of the rental unit offer this incentive to get the unit filled for a variety of reasons. However, please make sure that you read and understand the lease and pay close attention to what is required of you if you decide to leave. Many times the lease will not allow you to move out during certain months of the year. This is just one item you need to know. Read the fine print and if you do not understand any part of it, make sure you consult with someone who does.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
No, there is no hidden catch. It means that after your 12th month of payment you will receive an additional month free. If you have other questions, I am happy to help you.
Brooke Davida, SVP
212-444-7847. Bad@corcoran.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
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