Searching for an apartment can be stressful. You’re trying to find the best location, a reputable management company, a great apartment and all while staying within budget. The apartment you choose can drastically affect your finances. But keep in mind that it isn’t just the monthly rent that you’ll be paying for. There are many other costs that come with renting that you might not realize. Here are some hidden fees you may encounter while renting an apartment.
You may have to pay a one-time fee for simply filing out an application to rent an apartment. This fee can be charged since it takes time for someone to go over your application and approve you to live in the complex.
This charge covers a background check and a credit check and that your landlord may perform (usually included in the application fee).
This fee will depend on the value of your apartment and can vary greatly. When you move out, someone will inspect your apartment to see if there were any damages caused throughout the time you lived there. If there are damages, they’ll estimate the cost and deduct that from the security deposit you gave when you signed the lease. To ensure you’ll get your security deposit back, thoroughly document any existing damage in the apartment before signing your lease.
Some complexes are doing away with security deposits, but instead are requesting a move-in fee. Essentially, it’s the same thing, but unlike a security deposit, you won’t get any of that amount back after you leave.
First and Last Month’s Rent
Your landlord may require you to pay the entire first and last month’s rent upfront. Even though it’s your rent and not a hidden fee, many people don’t realize this. Plus, when you’re ready to move, your last month’s rent will already be covered, freeing up some extra cash for your new place.
You might be surprised to learn there’s a chance you’ll get charged for your parking spot, especially in larger cities. Some apartments allow you to park one car per apartment. Also, some apartment complexes offer indoor parking or underground parking that can be an additional cost as well.
While some apartments include some or all of the utilities, many do not. So keep in mind that heat, electricity, water, gas and even garbage removal may all be services you’ll need to pay for. Ask which utilities are included prior to signing the lease. When you’re checking out the apartment, ask what the average costs for electricity, gas, garbage and water are so you get an idea of what your budget will be.
Chances are if you’re moving into a pet-friendly apartment and have a pet, you’ll be asked to pay a pet fee. This will probably include a monthly fee, usually called a “pet rent,” and a one-time fee when you move in, which can include both refundable and non-refundable deposits.
Always set a reminder for when your rent is due to avoid any late fees. It’s easy to lose track of when the first comes around when you’re busy with work and all the other things in your life, but don’t be that person your landlord has to hound for the rent check.
You may pay extra every month for maintenance to your apartment or to the community. Find out what you’re paying for prior to signing. This way, if you have a dispute, you can work it out prior to signing anything.
In some cases, not following the rules can cost you. If you have friends over and the party gets a little too loud, you can end up with a noise-complaint fee from the police as well as a fee from your landlord for the hassle. House rules should be outlined in your lease, and since you’ve signed it, you’ve got to stick to it. Miscellaneous fees can range from keeping an unclean area outside of your door, storing bikes on a patio, using a grill that wasn’t approved and much more.
With a little planning and a lot of budgeting, moving into a new apartment can be the amazing fresh start you were looking for. Just be sure to read the fine print.