Want to make the most out of your rental property? SmartMove data shows that landlords receive a peak number of rental applications in the summer, which suggests that they are able to charge higher rent due to increased demand.

Specifically, landlords receive a 51% increase of applications in summer vs. winter. If you want to know how to take advantage of the peak rental season, then this guide will give you insights on the best time to rent, when to charge a higher rent, and the best times to list your property online.

When is the peak rental season?

The peak rental season happens when the highest number of renters are looking for a new rental property. This typically happens in the summer, mostly due to the school year calendar.

SmartMove 2017 data illustrates that the peak season typically runs from May through August.

rental applications are highest during the summer months

College age students want to secure a rental before school starts, while graduates move into rentals after completing their education. Parents of younger children tend to move during summer so as not to change schools during the school year and to get settled before enrollment begins. In much of the country, it’s not ideal to move during winter because of snow, rain, and cold temperatures.  

The best times for landlords to list their rental property

You should start searching for a new tenant at least 60 days before your lease end date, so it’s a good idea to be proactive with your tenants. Discuss their plans to renew as early as possible. Few people move without some planning, so spring is when you’ll want to get a jump on the summer rental market.

The spring is when renters start looking around for a change of scenery or a better deal on rent, so you’ll want to have your rental ad out there for the most exposure when decisions are being made.

How to take advantage of the peak rental season

tips to take advantage of peak rental season for your unit

Move to a summer vacancy cycle

To make the most of peak rental season and decrease vacancies, you’ll want to time your leases so that they end in summer. If you are currently on a winter vacancy cycle, start choosing end dates that end in summer by signing a 6-month or 18-month lease.

Size up the current rental market

Go “comparison shopping” and check out rental listings in your area. This is the best way to determine fair market rent your unit and likely how much rent that you can charge. Find out if prices have increased or if your competitors are offering incentives or promotions. If rents have increased in the area, you may be able to increase your rent on new leases and current tenants might accept a rent increase when they renew.

Retain current tenants

Once you are up to date with what is happening in your rental market, you can consider what features and amenities you may want to offer as an incentive to keep your current tenants. If rents haven’t increased enough to warrant turnover costs, you may be able to sign a new lease with your current tenants by letting them know you won’t increase the rent. For more ways to keep your best tenants from leaving, check out our article on tenant retention

rental unit improvements can attract new tenants

Spring cleaning and improvements

Whether you want to attract new tenants or retain the ones you already have, most tenants appreciate property improvements. Strategic rental unit upgrades done in the spring can make your property more marketable during peak rental season. It can also play into your tenants’ moving decisions, as they may be more likely to stay if their quality of life is improved with new appliances or a fresh paint job.

Consider your location

If you live in a college area, you may want to time your leases so that they end 30 days before school starts, since students look to move in right before classes begin.

List your rental online

According to a joint study developed by Apartments.com and Google, 72 percent of American renters start their search online. If you’re not already taking advantage of technology to find new tenants, you may want to get started by checking out the best listing sites to post rental ads.

When to charge a higher rent price

Check your local market to determine fair market value for rent to charge on your property

It can be tricky to set the right rent price, but it’s essential to your rental business success. Too low and you may not cover your own mortgage and expenses, too high and you risk vacancies. In the summer, the demand is higher so you can often set a higher rent price. Following the steps you would take to update your rent at the end of any lease will help you set the right rent in summer.

Take cues from similar properties in your neighborhood, since the current market dictates what renters are willing to pay. If units with similar amenities and updates are going for higher than yours during peak rental season, you may be able to charge a higher rent price.  


If you list your rental property to take advantage of peak rental season, you’ll have more interested renters and can be more selective.

This, in turn, increases the likelihood that you’ll find good tenants who pay rent on time. One of the best strategies to ensure you’ll get your rent on time is to make sure prospective tenants meet your income requirements. When you list your property at a busy time and receive multiple rental applications, you’ll want to verify income quickly.

SmartMove’s Income Insights can help you quickly estimate tenant income. It analyzes an applicant’s spending behavior from their credit report to estimate their likely income and deliver a recommendation of whether to do additional income verification (such as requesting pay stubs).  This new feature helps make your screening process more efficient by allowing you to skip income verification on certain applicants, meaning less time and paperwork. In the peak rental season, your time is better spent moving in good tenants.