12 Overlooked Costs of Renting an Apartment

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If you're planning to rent an apartment, the advertised rate may not be your only cost. Here are some expenses commonly overlooked by new renters.

Getting your first apartment can be exciting. It’s the start of a brand-new, independent life. However, there are costs of renting that tend to catch new apartment dwellers off guard.

Before you put the money down, don’t forget to include the following 12 costs in your budget.

1. Moving fees

The costs of relocating to a new apartment can add up quickly. For example, you may have to:

  • Spend money on the packing materials you can’t find for free
  • Hire a moving company unless you plan to do it yourself
  • Purchase all the extras needed in your new place

To soften the blow, take a look at “8 Ways to Save a Bundle on Moving.”

2. Storage rentals

Unless your apartment is spacious, you may have to place excess goods in a storage unit. CostHelper.com says the monthly cost of renting a unit can range from $40 to $230, depending on unit size.

3. Security deposit

The initial deposit isn’t a surprise to new tenants, but not getting it back may be. Some apartments charge nonrefundable move-in fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars.

If the security deposit is refundable, be sure to carefully inspect the apartment with the property manager and document its condition in writing before you move in so your deposit will not be at stake when you are ready to leave.

4. Application fee

The application fee covers the administrative costs associated with the qualification process, including a background and credit check. These fees are usually nonrefundable, even if you’re not approved.

5. Parking fee

If parking is available on-site and you don’t mind searching for a space in a crowded lot, it may be free. But if you prefer a garage or covered space that’s reserved and eliminates long late-night walks, you’ll have to pay for it.

6. Laundry

Is there room for a washer and dryer in the unit? If not, prepare to pay to use a coin-operated laundry.

7. Renters insurance

If your apartment’s contents are damaged by circumstances beyond your control, you’ll want to be compensated for losses. You need renters insurance. In fact, some apartment complexes mandate that you carry a policy.

Fortunately, renters insurance is far less expensive than homeowners insurance, often costing less than $200 annually. However, it can run much higher, depending on the value of your belongings.

8. Amenities

Is your complex equipped with a conference room, gym, pool, sauna or any other desirable amenities? Even if you don’t use them, you may be required to pay an access fee.

9. Maintenance fee

Do you receive on-site trash pickup or frequent lawn care? These come at a cost, and the landlord may pass them on to you in the form of a monthly fee.

10. Pet fees

Will your furry friends be moving in? Expect added costs in the form of a monthly fee or one-time deposit.

11. Utilities and other fees

This may seem obvious, but new renters often forget that they likely will need to pay monthly fees for water and sewer, trash, Internet and cable services.

12. Home improvement projects

Assuming the place isn’t up to your standards but you plan to stay for an extended period of time, you bring it up to par with a few renovations. But what happens when it’s time to move on?

Your investment in the paint, flooring materials and additional supplies is lost. And in some instances, the landlord may require you to transform the apartment to its original state or fork over a hefty amount of cash.

Were you blindsided by any of these fees when renting your first apartment? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.


Stacy Johnson

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