Amid the jobless recovery, some landlords are showering flat-screen TVs, cash, rent cuts and other incentives on tenants to encourage them to renew their apartment leases and thus avoid the expense of filling empty units.

The rise in unemployment has prompted tenants to seek roommates, move home or trade down to cheaper units. In the third quarter, the national apartment-vacancy rate hit 7.8%, a 23-year high, according to Reis Inc, which tracks vacancies and rents in the top 79 markets.

'Many companies are doing whatever they can to keep units occupied, especially heading into the seasonally slower leasing period,' said Paula Poskon, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

Wall Street Journal