If you are about to start your apartment search then you will want to be aware of any costs that you will be responsible for. Residents will pay much more than just their monthly rent.
Usually renting an apartment comes with a load of extras like application and administration fees, deposits, electricity bills, and more. Having an idea of what these bills are, can help you budget for your next place. You don’t want your budget to be so thin you don’t have extra funds for entertainment.
Almost every single apartment home will charge an application fee. Sometimes a renter may find that a community may waive the charge after formal approval. Remember, the application actually allows the apartment complex to begin the formal process of running your application.
The landlord uses a third party service that will check your credit score, rental history, and complete background check. These fees are non refundable. So if you are rejected, don’t expect a refund because you probably won’t be getting one. It is a good idea to run your credit using the free annual credit report to see if you may run up against any potential problems.
The security deposit, usually equal to one month’s rent, is money you are really lending to the landlord in case you cause any damage to the property. This is usually defined as anything beyond normal wear and tear.
You should get these funds back within 30 days or so less any repairs the landlord had to make. Check your local state laws to get more specifics.
While some apartments include water in your monthly rent, some will charge your water use. The good news, water isn’t that expensive. Unlike home owners, residents don’t have to water their yards. How much you actually use will determine the monthly bill. Water bills can either be embedded within the main bill of your rent or can be segregated and be charged as a separate bill. Unlike electricity bills, usually a renter doesn’t have to call the water company to get it turned on. Before you sign your lease, ask the landlord or apartment manager what the average water bill you can expect to pay per month. You probably will use more water in the summer.
Energy bills will typically be your largest bills outside of your monthly rent that you pay on a monthly basis. Sometimes you can find an “all bills paid apartment” that will include the electricity charges in your monthly rent. The good news is that you can run your a/c all day and night and your monthly rent will stay the same. Some states have electricity laws that allow you to search among many companies for the lowest rates. This is called deregulation. You can look for better and cheaper deals of electricity on the internet. Remember that the summers are going to be the highest usage months. Ask the leasing agent what these bills typical look like.
Some apartments will require renter’s insurance while others will leave it up to the renter to decide. Your leasing agent can give you more details on these specifics. This will cover your personal property only. Here is how it typically works. Let’s say your personal items are lost through a fire or are stolen. Renter’s insurance will cover the replacement of these items. If you decide to purchase a policy you will need to take inventory of all of your items. Take a photo of all of your items and look through bank and credit card statements to determine how much insurance you actually will need. It’s so cheap that we recommend all renters with any belongings pay for a policy.
Internet and TV
Chances are you will sign up for Internet and television in your apartment complex. Sometimes apartments force you to choose among a specific provider. Many residents have their specific provider in mind and if it is not on the lease, this can create some strong feelings. Be sure you add up these costs in your budget.
Monthly Service Fees
You may not know it, but a vast majority of apartments charge nominal monthly fees. These usually include valet trash, pet rent, and sometimes bed bug fees.
Pet rent can be as much as $50 a month at some apartment complexes. The other fees are worth mentioning but are nominal.
Valet trash allows you to drop your trash outside your door in a trash chute. There is no way to opt out of this fee.
Before you drop off your application, get a list of all the fees and expenses you must pay in addition to your monthly rent. Renting an apartment is an exciting step for many people. Just be sure that you understand all of the additional fees and expenses that will be added on.