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Brookfield Offering New Office Incentive: Free Apartment Rents

The Met apartments in Downtown Los Angeles, one of Brookfield's properties where employees of its nearby office tenants can get a free month's rent.

Brookfield Properties is using a new tactic to boost occupancy at its office properties in Downtown Los Angeles: lease office space and your employees get a free month's rent at a Brookfield apartment nearby.

Brookfield, which says it operates more than 375M SF of real estate around the world, has established a new program to offer a month of free rent at one of five LA apartment properties to employees of companies that lease office space at one of its seven nearby office buildings in the Downtown submarket, CoStar reported.

Apartments involved include 8th and Grand, Aliso, Atelier, Metro 417 and The Met, according to Brookfield marketing materials. Companies are eligible for the program if they lease or renew for at least three years at 777 Tower, Bank of America Plaza, California Market Center, EY Plaza, Figueroa at Wilshire, The Gas Company Tower and Wells Fargo Center.

Brookfield Senior Vice President John Barganski first announced the new program for Downtown Los Angeles March 11 on LinkedIn.

While Brookfield's goal may be different — the program is to encourage companies to take space at its buildings — the real estate firm is part of a growing trend of big corporations subsidizing housing for employees amid a nationwide shortage of places to live.

Walt Disney Co., Dollywood and the Hilton Head Island luxury resort Sea Pines have either built or are planning to build housing to offer to seasonal or full-time employees, CityLab reported.

Both apartment rents and housing prices have skyrocketed across the U.S., while low-income renters struggle to make housing ends meet. Of the 44 million household renters in the U.S., 10.8 million are at or below the poverty level of 30% of area median income, according to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. As a result, 70% of low-income households are severely cost-burdened, where more than 50% of their income is spent on housing, NLIHC found.

"Live-work-play communities aren’t exactly a new concept,” Barganski wrote in his LinkedIn post. "We’re really proud to offer this exclusive perk to new and renewing Brookfield Properties office tenants. Living, working and socializing locally has its benefits."