Ever wondered about the array of bills that come with renting an apartment? You're in the right place. Regardless of your location, renting involves a monthly financial commitment covering rent, electricity, security deposits, pet fees, and more. While it may seem expensive, there are ways to trim costs, and we'll explore them here.
After a month of living in the apartment, you'll need to make your first rent payment. Generally speaking, it's due on the first of every month at the previously agreed rate. However, some landlords will allow you to change the due date before signing your contract.
While cash was once the go-to payment option, both property managers and landlords require checks or payments through online portals nowadays. The specific amount varies depending on your lease length and state. For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in New York may cost you $2,000 or more, while a similar unit in Columbus, Ohio, runs as low as $900.
This isn't an ongoing bill, but it's undoubtedly the most expensive upfront cost you'll need to stump when renting an apartment. As the name suggests, it gives landlords security they'll be able to pay for damage to their apartment (if necessary). It's as close or equal to one month's rent, meaning you'll pay near-double your typical monthly rent price before you've moved in and started living there.
However, in recent years, some landlords have reduced this cost to a nominal amount depending on the renter's credit score. This means that you'll see tiered deposit costs depending on your credit score. In short, you'll pay less for a lower credit score and more for a higher score.
Luckily, your landlord will return your security deposit if you haven't damaged the property once you move out.
Unlike your rent and security deposit, your utility bills will change each month. While you might be able to secure a fixed tariff for electricity and other bills, apartment renters generally pay for their specific usage. Therefore, you won't necessarily pay the same from one month to the next.
Note: Some lease agreements roll utility bills into the rent payment, meaning you won't have to worry about paying electricity, gas, and other essentials separately. Just keep in mind that such contracts hike the rent cost to guarantee landlords can cover all expenses.
Electricity's intrinsic place in society means it's one of the most expensive yet ever-changing bills you'll have to pay when renting an apartment. From light switches to phone chargers to TVs to refrigerators to stoves, almost everything in your home requires electricity.
According to data provided by EnergyBot in June 2023, the average electricity bill is $117 per month. However, the price varies drastically depending on your state. In Hawaii, for instance, electric bills average a whopping $162 per month, while Utah's monthly average is a mere $80.
Don't let the above figures put you off. There are plenty of ways to save money on electric bills when renting an apartment, such as the following tips and tricks:
The US Energy Information Administration notes roughly half the homes in the country use natural gas to heat water and buildings, dry laundry, and cook food, with the former being the single biggest user.
Americans pay an average of $100 per month for gas heating, as publicized by Inspire Clean Energy and The Energy Professor. However, households should expect to pay more or less depending on a myriad of factors, such as their state, apartment size, apartment building age, appliances, thermostat settings, and more.
Unfortunately, gas bills can run pretty high, especially if you're renting an apartment in an older building or your appliances aren't as efficient as they could be. So, here are some tips that may help lower the monthly cost:
These days, a reliable internet connection is a non-negotiable requirement for everyone. Whether young professionals who need it for work, grandparents who want to FaceTime their relatives, or families who want to snuggle on the couch and stream Netflix shows, it's nearly impossible to live without it. But sadly, it isn't free.
An Allconnect analysis of over 250 plans from the nation's top providers in 2023 showed residents pay $92.22 per month on average. But Consumer Reports noted that customers often choose cheaper plans, sliding the country's average to $74.99 per month, with half of all households splashing $60 to $90 monthly on the internet.
To keep your budget in check, use the below suggestions to reduce your monthly internet bill:
Your monthly water bill is based on usage; the more you use, the more you'll pay. However, most providers make it easy to control your spending by supplying your household's usage trend and handy tips to cut back.
Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states an average American uses roughly 82 gallons per day per person. Thus, a family of four uses approximately 10,000 gallons per month.
Statista shows the average water cost in 2023 varies drastically by state. West Virginia takes the number one spot as the most expensive in the country, averaging $91 per month. It's followed by California, Oregon, Washington, and New Jersey with averages between $72 and $77.
As for the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and Wisconsin both have averages of just $18, while North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi have averages of $20, $21, and $23, respectively.
Keeping water and its costs at the forefront of your mind works wonders to change habits and save money. Try these easy tips to get started:
As an apartment renter, your bills don't stop there. Depending on your landlord, you may have one, some, or all of the following to fund:
Always check your lease agreement to confirm whether you're expected to pay extra for services like trash collection. Some cities allow landlords to pass refuse collection costs on to their tenants, which can add an average of $40.36 to rent prices.
Some property managers/landlords require you to pay renter's insurance. It protects your belongings in case of natural disasters and theft, costing you $15 to $20 per month.
You might have to pay extra monthly fees for furry friends. Known as pet rent, it's common for apartment renters and can range from $20 to $50 per pet per month. Landlords may add money to your security deposit, too.
Depending on your location, you might need to pay for parking. This monthly fee can run as low as $20 per month to as high as $200 a month.
In summary, renting an apartment entails a range of monthly bills and upfront costs. The primary ongoing expense is rent, varying by location and size. The security deposit, a significant upfront payment, safeguards against damages. Utility bills for electricity and gas, influenced by location and habits, can be reduced through energy-saving practices. Internet services incur an average monthly cost, but bundling or negotiation can lower bills. Water bills are usage-dependent, and awareness and simple measures contribute to cost savings.
Additional expenses may include trash collection, renter's insurance, pet-related costs, and parking fees, depending on the lease agreement. While renting involves financial commitments, understanding, and proactive measures can help manage and potentially reduce costs, allowing tenants to make informed decisions about their living arrangements.