Savvy renters may think they have a pretty good understanding of the costs associated with renting in today’s market. Some costs are in plain sight while others are less obvious. These expenses could be an unexpected surprise to your bank account if you don’t know enough in advance to prepare to pay for them.
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Here are some obvious, and lesser-known, costs renters should pay attention to in today’s market.
Before signing a lease, renters should inquire about whether they will need to pay for renters insurance.
Rachel Stults, managing editor of Realtor.com, said a renters insurance policy is an important safety net that can save you from big expenses and headaches. Many landlords will require renters to have some sort of coverage for their personal belongings in the event disaster strikes. Some properties may suggest companies.
Be aware of hidden costs surrounding electricity. Andy Feiwel, a real estate agent with Compass in New York City, said packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) use electricity for the fans.
He recommended, “I would make sure there is at least a thermostat which can regulate when the unit turns on, as opposed to running continuously.”
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Some apartments build utilities into the cost of the rent and others don’t. Renters will need to be prepared to pay certain utilities — like electricity, gas, water or trash — on their own. Additionally, Stults said renters must pay for their cable and internet service and cell phone service and may even be responsible for monthly pest control fees.
“Make sure to ask your potential landlord for a breakdown of all the fees you’ll get charged and how often,” Stults said, “so you can create an accurate budget before locking into a lease.”
Gas/Central Boiler Fee and Sewage Fee
These are other sneaky costs Feiwel has seen landlords in larger buildings charge their tenants. Before you submit an application, check to see whether this information is disclosed first.
Want to park your car? Most properties will charge a monthly fee for a designated parking spot. This cost can quickly become expensive, too. In urban areas where parking is scarce, Stults said, you could pay more than $200 a month for a parking spot.
“If you have a furry family member, be prepared to pay for them to live with you,” Stults said. “Pet rent and pet security deposits are common in all rentals today. Even if you’re not a pet owner now but are considering becoming one soon, you’ll want to factor in this extra cost.”
Some rentals may offer additional on-site storage units to residents. The only catch is you’ll need to pay if you intend to use it. Stults recommends asking about storage options in advance, finding out whether there are any and how much they might cost.
Both Stults and Feiwel said a growing trend in buildings is charging an amenity fee for use of common spaces. These may include gyms, rooftop decks, heated pools, game rooms and Wi-Fi lounges, to name a few.
While the decision to charge an amenity fee varies depending on the building, it is possible that the initially complimentary perks may change to be a paid policy. Do not assume the cost is 100% built into the rent.
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