If you’re thinking about leasing an apartment or house, there are a number of considerations you should take into account. First and foremost, it’s important for you to know and understand all the costs of renting. Moreover, it’s critical that you take the time to financially prepare for them.
And that’s exactly why I’m writing this post.
You see, throughout my life I have leased quite a few different apartments and houses. And through my experiences, I have become very familiar with all the upfront, recurring, and even hidden costs of renting. And one thing I can tell you, is that the more you know, the better off you’ll be.
With that in mind, in this guide, I am going to cover 21 different costs of renting. My hope is that this article will help you understand and financially prepare for your new life as a renter.
Let’s dive in!
Upfront Costs Of Renting
1. Application Fee
The first thing you are going to have to pay for when you decide to rent an apartment or house, is an application fee. Now, in most cases, whether you are moving in with your spouse or a roommate, the landlord or property manager will require every adult tenant to fill out an application.
In my experience, application fees can run anywhere from $30 to $60 per person. However, on multiple occasions, I have had landlords count my application fee toward my first month’s rent. This is a nice little bonus, so be sure to ask if that is a possibility.
2. Security Deposit
After you are accepted as a tenant by your landlord, or leasing office, you will probably have to pay a security deposit. If you are living in an apartment, this fee tends to be lower, in the $250 to $1,000 range. However, if you are renting a house, you can pretty much expect your security deposit to equal one month of rent.
3. First and Last Month’s Rent
In addition to your application fee, and security deposit, upon signing your lease, you will probably be required to pay your first month of rent. If you are renting an apartment, this will probably be the final really big upfront cost for you.
However, if you are renting a house, your landlord may also require you to pay your last month of rent. This is a fairly common practice when renting a home, so you should be prepared for it.
In other words, if you are thinking of renting a house, you should expect to pay for your security deposit, first month of rent, and last month of rent upon signing your lease.
4. Moving Costs
Moving costs are something that tend to be overlooked by renters, so be sure to include it in your budget.
If you are planning to just rent a truck, or ask some friends to help you move, these costs will be pretty minimal; just a few tanks of gas and some pizza. (It’s common courtesy to provide food for everyone that helps you move.)
But, if you have a ton of stuff to move, and you decide to hire a moving company to help you out, then this can get rather pricey. For that reason, I recommend getting price quotes from a few different movers, so that you know what you’re getting into.
5. Pet Deposit
Pet’s can make great companions, but they definitely increase the costs associated with renting. Typically, you can expect to pay a pet deposit of at least a couple hundred bucks. Beyond the fee, you may need to get your pet approved by your landlord or leasing agent.
It’s important to remember that some apartment communities and landlords have restrictions in place for certain species and breeds. And, if you move in without getting your dog-approved, then you could be in for penalty fees, or even eviction.
Depending upon the place you decide to rent, you may have to buy a few big appliances. The most common appliances you will need to buy are a washer, dryer, refrigerator and microwave. So, before you move in, be sure to ask which appliances come with the place, and which you will need to provide.
These are the kinds of expenses you don’t want to get hit with at the very last second. There’s nothing like walking into a new home you’re renting, only to discover that you don’t have a fridge, or a way to wash your clothes.
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Recurring Costs Of Renting
Rent is the most obvious expense you will have to pay as a renter, but in an article about the costs of renting, I couldn’t leave it out. These days, most landlords and leasing offices give you the option to pay your rent online, but if not, you will need to mail or hand-deliver a check on the first of each month.
Additionally, it’s important to understand the penalty associated with a late rent payment. In my experience, landlords typically give you the first 3 days of the month to pay your rent, however each situation is different. If you are late to pay your rent, however, you will likely be charged a late fee.
Some late fees are steeper than others, but from what I have seen, it will range between $50 and $100 for the first day late, plus another $25 – $50 per day after that. In other words, don’t be late on your rent.
8. Renter’s Insurance
Most landlords and apartment complexes will require you to purchase renter’s insurance, and provide them with proof before you sign your lease. But regardless if they require you to have it or not, you most definitely should.
Renter’s insurance has never cost me more than $15 per month, which is a small price to pay in the event of something catastrophic happening to the property. It’s not worth risking your entire financial future over a few bucks per month.
If you’re looking for a good renter’s insurance provider, we highly recommend Liberty Mutual. Their rates are low and it is super quick and easy (i.e. less than 5 minutes) to get a quote online.
9. Pest Control
I have had to pay a small pest control fee as part of my rent for every apartment I have leased. This is a pretty common fee, and it is typically just added to your rent each month. In my experience, this will cost you between $3 and $5 per month, and most of the time you will be required to pay it.
So, just consider this a mandatory part of your rent.
10. Trash Valet
If you’ve never rented an apartment before, then trash valet might come as a surprise expense to you. But, most apartment complexes — in an effort to keep their property as clean as possible — require their tenants to pay for this service each month.
Basically, trash valet is a service that comes through the apartment complex every night, and takes your trash away. All you have to do is set it outside your door. It is incredibly convenient when you live in an apartment where the dumpster is far away from your unit. However, if you live right next to the dumpster, this fee might seem a little unnecessary. Either way, you will probably have to pay it, and it usually runs between $25 and $50 per month.
So, be prepared to pay it, whether you use it or not.
11. Garage / Parking
One of the biggest recurring costs of renting is when you decide to pay for a garage or parking space at an apartment complex. I have seen garages run anywhere from $75 per month, all the way up to $150 per month, and parking spaces cost anywhere from $15 to $50 per month.
If you live in an apartment with limited parking, this may be a fee that’s worth every penny, so just be sure to do your research before you move in.
If your new place comes with any amenities, for example, a pool or workout facility, then you may have to pay a monthly maintenance fee. When you are renting an apartment, this may be a required fee that the leasing office just adds to your rent each month.
In the case of individual landlords, you may get to choose whether or not you want to include these amenities in your rent.
13. Gas and Electric
These next few bills aren’t specific to renters, but since you will still have to pay them, I decided to include them on the list.
Unless you are renting a house or apartment that comes with all-inclusive rent, then you will need to pay your gas and electric bill on top of your rent. In most cases, you will need to set this up on your own, and provide proof to your landlord that you have done so.
Also, it’s important to note that these charges may be separate, or combined into one bill depending on your utility provider. And, since these are variable expenses that are based on your consumption, your bill will be determined by the amount of electricity and heat you actually consume each month.
Most of the time, if you are renting an apartment, your water and sewer bill will tacked on to your rent, and paid directly to your landlord. Though, I have had one situation where I had to set this up separate from my rent.
For all you apartment renters out there, your water and sewer bill probably won’t be that high each month. Since you don’t have to pay for the water used in a sprinkler system — like you would when renting a house — this bill shouldn’t be too hefty. In my experience, an apartment water bill will come in under $30 each month.
That said, if you’re looking to rent a house, you should expect this bill to come in somewhere between $50, and $150 per month.
In my opinion, cable isn’t necessary. So, if there’s an expense on this list that you can go without, this is it. However, the internet is pretty much essential these days, and you should expect to pay between $30 and $100 for it every month.
16. Monthly Pet Fee
If you have a pet, you will more than likely have to pay a recurring monthly pet fee. This expense will vary from landlord to landlord, but, to give you a good ballpark figure, you should expect to pay an extra $30 to $50 per month for pet rent.
17. Storage Space
Like renting a garage or parking space, some apartments come with an option to rent out a little storage unit. If you have a lot of stuff that you don’t want cluttering your apartment, then this might be a good option for you. However, it comes at a price.
From what I have seen, to rent a storage space at your apartment complex, you may need to shell out between $30 and $75 per month. If you do decide to go with this option, you might want to consider looking into other storage spaces in your area. You might be able to find a cheaper option at one of your local storage facilities.
Hidden Costs Of Renting
18. Tenant Repairs
One of the biggest benefits of renting, is that you don’t typically have to pay for repairs. In particular, if you live in an apartment, pretty much everything that breaks will be taken care of by the maintenance crew.
However, if you live in a house, there may be specific repairs that you have to pay for should they arise. For example, if you clog a drain or toilet, and a plumber has to come snake it for you, then you may be on the hook for that. If you break your disposal after putting a little too much food down there, then you may have to shell out the money to repair it or buy a new one.
Tenant repairs should be laid out in your lease, so be sure to read through it, thoroughly. If you know what kind of tenant repairs you are on the hook for, then you can take extra precaution to prevent them from happening.
19. Yard Maintenance
If you’re renting a house, you will either have to pay to maintain the yard yourself, or pay a yard maintenance service to do it for you.
This can get a little pricey if you aren’t careful. For example, if you move into a house with a yard, and the landlord doesn’t provide you with a lawn mower, then you will need to buy one yourself. This can be a couple hundred bucks. Additionally, you may need to get some other yard maintenance tools like a weed whacker, pruning shears, and a garden hose.
All told, yard maintenance expenses can end up costing you hundreds of dollars. So, be sure to ask your landlord what’s required of you, so that you can properly prepare your finances.
Some communities require homeowners to pay an HOA fee each month, which your landlord may pass on to you. Some landlords choose to include this fee in your rent, but in many cases, you will need to pay this separately.
If you are renting a home in a low-maintenance community, for which the HOA pays for lawn care and snow removal, the HOA fee can get kind of expensive (sometimes as much as two or three-hundred dollars). So, before you move in, be sure to ask your landlord about any HOA fees.
21. Move-out Fees
When you sign your lease, pay special attention to any move-out fees. For example, many landlords will require their tenants to pay to have the carpets professionally cleaned when they move out. Additionally, if you hang anything on the walls that leaves a hole in the drywall, you may have to pay to have those repaired.
Most times, landlords will just use your security deposit to pay for these kinds of repairs, but regardless, it’s in your best interest to review them carefully before you sign your lease.
So, what are your costs of renting? If there any fees that you have to pay that I didn’t include on this list, feel free to post them in the comments below.
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