If you are considering renting an apartment or house, there are a number of financial questions and considerations you should take into account. In particular, the first question you should address is: what bills do renters have to pay?
As a renter, you should expect to pay the following bills: water, sewer, trash, electric, gas, internet, cable, and renter’s insurance. When renting an apartment, you may also need to pay for trash valet, as well as a parking spot or garage. Meanwhile, if you rent a house, you may be required to pay for yard maintenance, or a lawn care service.
It’s important to know exactly what you are expected to pay as a renter. But more than that, you should have a good idea what all your bills will cost you each month. So, to help you figure it out, I’m going to do the only thing I know to do. Since I am a renter, I am going to give you an approximate cost of each bill, based on what my wife and I actually pay each month.
Let’s get started!
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How Do Bills Work When Renting?
If you are new to renting, paying your bills can get a little confusing. Between payments that go to your landlord, and bills you need to pay directly to the utility companies, it’s important to know what you’re getting into, and how everything works.
Based on my experience, before you move into your rental, you will need to set up your gas and electricity account with your local providers. If you are moving into a house, you may have some additional bills like water, sewer and trash to set up as well. Usually, your landlord will require proof that you set these up upon signing your lease.
From that point on, you will need to be sure to pay any bills that don’t go through your landlord, directly to their respective utility providers. In most cases, you can pay these online, but you may choose to mail a check or pay over the phone each month; whatever options they provide.
Of all the bills you will need to pay as a renter, the most confusing is often the water bill. In my experience, this bill runs behind at least a month (sometimes two), so you may not have to pay this bill until the start of the third month in your lease.
The water bill always makes me a little nervous, because it feels like I am missing a payment, but this has been the case in every place I have ever rented.
In any case, when you sign your lease, just be sure to ask your landlord about anything that confuses you in regard to paying utilities. This is important information, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
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Are Any Bills Included In Rent?
I have lived in apartments and houses where some, or even all of the utilities were included in the rent. These are known as inclusions, and let me tell you, they make life as a renter pretty easy! Even if your rent takes one or two bills off your plate, it can greatly simplify your monthly finances.
In my experience, if a landlord chooses to include any bills in the cost of rent, it will be the trash bill. This bill is essential to maintain a clean property, and the monthly payments are fixed; two things that give a landlord a reason to include it with rent.
Your landlord may choose to include every utility bill, or none at all. It is completely up to them. Your job is to understand what your rent includes, and which bills you need to pay separately.
Approximate Cost Of Bills For Renters
As a renter myself, I have paid a lot of bills over the years. And with this experience, I have a good understanding of what I can expect to pay each month for utilities. So, in this next section, I want to give you an idea of what bills you will need to pay as a renter, and approximately how much they will cost.
Now, these are just estimates based on my own experience. Your bills will vary based on the size of place you are renting, your actual utility usage, your locality, and requirements set forth by your landlord. But, with all that in mind, here are some approximate costs, and other information on bills you might have to pay as a renter.
No matter if you rent an apartment or a house, it is an absolute necessity that you carry renter’s insurance. Luckily, renter’s insurance isn’t much of a financial burden. In fact, depending on where you live and how much coverage you need, you should only expect to pay between $5 and $30 per month. And seriously, in the event something happens to the place you are renting, you do not want to be without it.
If you need to get renter’s insurance, we recommend Liberty Mutual. Their rates are low, and it only takes a few minutes to get a quote online.
Cable And Internet
As shocking as this may sound, cable and internet are not necessities. So, you get to choose whether or not you want to include them.
If you follow Be The Budget, then you know that my wife and I chose to drop cable awhile back, but we still pay for internet. After all, without the internet, this blog would be pretty hard to run.
In any case, if you decide to pay for cable, it will likely run you anywhere from $25 per month to $100 per month, depending on the cable package you decide to purchase.
As for your internet bill, you should plan to spend between $25 and $75 per month. At the time of writing this, our internet bill is $59.03, so hopefully that gives you a better idea.
Water And Sewer
Throughout my time as a renter, my water and sewer bills have remained two of my smallest. However, at the time of writing this, I have been living in an apartment for the last several years, which means I don’t have to pay for things like sprinklers, which can greatly increase your monthly water bill.
If you choose to rent an apartment, you should expect to pay between $25 and $40 for your water and sewer bill. However, if you decide to rent a house, you will probably pay a little more.
Trash and Trash Valet
Whether you rent a house or an apartment, you will need to pay for a trash service, which will probably run you between $15 and $45 per month. However, if you choose to rent an apartment, you may be required to pay for trash valet.
Trash valet is a service that many apartment complexes employ. It’s essentially just a trash pickup service, where you set your trash outside your door at night, and somebody comes and hauls it away for you. This is common in apartments, because they don’t want residents just letting their garbage sit in their apartments.
I have had to pay for trash valet at every apartment I have rented, and it has run me between $15 per month, and $30 per month.
As a renter, my electric bill is almost always my highest utility bill. Though, it varies from month to month. In summer months, when I spend more time outdoors, and therefore, don’t use as much electricity, this bill is often in the $30 – $40 range. However, I have had this bill reach upwards of $125 in winter months when I spent a lot of time inside.
Your electric bill will depend on your usage. So, if you want it to be small, then leave fewer lights on.
As a renter, you don’t want to forget about your gas bill. This is one of the most important bills you pay, because without it, you won’t have heat.
In my experience, my gas bill typically runs me about $25 per month in the Winter. However, I am in an apartment, which means the furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to heat our place. So, if you live in a house, you should plan to spend a little more.
Garage Or Parking Space
Many apartment complexes will require you to pay a monthly fee for a parking pass, or a garage. In my current complex, we have free outdoor parking, but if you want to rent a garage, it costs $125 per month.
In an apartment, unless you have an attached garage, this will be a separate, elected expense.
Yard Maintenance (When Renting A House)
One thing you should plan to pay for when you rent a house, is yard maintenance. Whether you pay for a lawn service, or you do it yourself, there are costs involved.
Around here, yard maintenance services will run anywhere from $30 per month to $75 per month. So, if you have the ability to do it yourself, this is a bill you might not have to pay.
That said, many landlords will require you to pay for a service, which means another bill for you.
From your normal bills like electricity, gas, water, sewer and trash, to less common bills like yard maintenance, as a renter, you need to know your financial responsibilities.
So, when you sign your lease, be sure to gather as much information as possible about how, and to whom you will need to pay your bills. This simple action is one of the smartest things you can do as a renter. Trust me, you will be glad you did!
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