Moving In: Hidden Fees and Expenses

in Saving Money on by

You’ve found the perfect apartment, and you couldn’t be happier. After a week of inner debate, you’ve finally gotten over the fact that the rent is a little bit more than you had originally intended, but the apartment is the epitome of elegance and comfort, and you just have to have it. I mean, you can deal with spending a little less on groceries each month, can’t you? But read closer… a $500 pet deposit? Can you deal with giving Fluffy away? Hidden fees are a huge part of finding the right apartment. Fees differ between complexes, and it’s up to you to ask the management about what these fees are for, and by how much they’re going to deplete your shopping funds.

Garbage Fees

Many apartment complexes have garbage fees that they pass on to their tenants. If your complex has monstrous, putrid dumpsters, you will most likely pay a monthly garbage fee. Ask your landlord how much this fee is, and if it’s subject to change during your lease term. Since it’s not an optional fee, you want to make sure they can’t hike up the price while you’re locked into a lease. If your apartment doesn’t provide a waste service for you, you’ll need to make sure you have one through the city – who charges $11.75 a month for a small bin, with a set up fee of $15.

Water Fees

Water is also something that you don’t think about while living with parents or in a dorm in the good old days. So this is why mom didn’t want you taking hour long showers. Apartments divide up these costs differently. At some, they take your building’s water usage and divide it by the number of units, and then bill each unit that amount. This would come on a statement sent by your leasing office each month, payable to the apartment complex. It might be helpful to ask what the average water bill is, and how you will receive the bill.

Deposit and Connection Fees

This is the category that can really break your bank. Most apartments require you to have an account for electricity (or gas), and unless you’re living in the dark ages, you’ll also want to have internet, phone, and maybe cable. Electricity requires a $20 start up fee, and a whopping $200 deposit. You like the medieval candle look, right? Just hope it’s a warm winter. Not only will you have to worry about this fee, but your apartment alone will have deposits. You will most likely have to pay apartment fees for an application and a security deposit, the amount depending on how posh a pad you’re renting. And for poor little Fluffy, if you can afford it, you will need to pay a pet deposit which can sometimes be insanely expensive. Hope she’s been thoroughly house trained.

Cancellation and Late Fees

Your landlord doesn’t like getting late rent checks any more than you like getting paid late. And you can bet that somewhere in your lease, there’s a paragraph in teeny tiny print that details late fees. Each check that you turn in late is going to be slapped with a late fee, varying by complex, and there’s no way out of these. Invest in some post it notes to help you remember to turn things in on time – it’ll be cheaper than the apartment’s fee. Or maybe that first fine will be enough to teach you. Also things like breaking your lease, or canceling electric service, can have hefty penalties. Make sure you either read through your lease and make note of these fees, or ask your landlord to go through them with you.

15 Responses to “Moving In: Hidden Fees and Expenses”

  1. January 06, 2006 at 12:22 pm, Anonymous said:




  2. September 21, 2006 at 5:33 pm, Guest said:

    I had to leave my dog with my parents because my pet deposit is $500 and I don’t know how to save money up quick enough to get her, so that she can come live with me??! help!


  3. January 03, 2007 at 12:39 pm, Guest said:

    I lived in an aparment and we even put new carpet in ourselves and after moving out we have the place spotless nothing was wrong, but the owner said that the $99 deposit fee is something called an Admin Fee which means we don’t get the money back, is this something they made up or is this a true fee?


  4. January 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm, Guest said:

    I am 18, and me and my 3 friends are trying to move out together before summer begins. We are making about 10 dollars an hour and wondering if anybody can give a list of all the different fees and bills that we can be expecting.Assume nothing is covered, its a 3 room, plus kitchen, plus bathroom house.


  5. February 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm, Guest said:

    I pay all of my utilities and a month after moving in I got hit with a bill from NWP services. I was never told there would be another bill for my water and sewer service. My apartment is just trying to recover costs. A BUNCH OF BS. Beware of this!!!


  6. March 19, 2008 at 11:14 pm, Guest said:

    No, your apartment is asking you to pay your water bill. As an assistant manager at an apartment complex I deal with people all the time who, on move-in day, just want to “sign on the dotted line” and be on their way, never mind that we prefer to go over the lease with them, so that little “surprises” don’t pop up from out of nowhere.

    And you know what? Invariably, the ones who refuse to take 30 minutes READING their lease are the ones who receive bills they didn’t know were coming, or come in, 4 months later out of the blue expecting to turn in their keys and leave, completely unaware that there is a lease breaking clause and notice to vacate cause. And when they find this out, guess who they blame???

    Don’t blame management for YOUR oversight. Even of they neglected to tell you about this bill, you have no excuse not to know, since you should have READ YOUR LEASE!


  7. March 21, 2008 at 11:58 am, Guest said:

    No, they are trying to get you to pay your water bill. Was it not in your lease? Or-let me guess-you just didn’t bother to read your lease. Maybe they forgot to mention it, or maybe they did and you just forgot. Who knows? But if you had read your lease (which it is YOUR responsibilty to do, not that of the office staff) you would have known about the extra bill. The only BS is trying to blame someone else for your own mistake.


  8. April 09, 2008 at 11:54 pm, Guest said:

    I need some help here! My husband and I are renting an apartment and the lease says that the rent is due on the first and late as of the 4th. Well, my husband had to find a new job due to conflict and we explained to the property manager of our situation. Now, he is paid less than the job before and we had a verbal agreement with the property manager to pay the rent bi-weekly without having to worry about the late fees because just one of his checks won’t even cover the whole amount of rent. Now, there is an assistant manager recently brought in that is ordering us to pay in full on the first and late fees if paid after the 4th. I explained about the verbal agreement and she refused to budge talking about possible eviction if not paid in full. Can the Assistant Manager over ride a verbal agreement that the Property Manager had with us?


  9. May 22, 2008 at 11:05 am, Guest said:

    I’m sorry to say this, but there is no proof that you ever had a verbal agreement with the property manager. That’s the problem with verbal agreements, they’re really hard to enforce because the judge only has word of mouth to go by. No proof. You should get all agreements in writing so they are valid and legally enforceable. You could say that you and the property manager had a verbal agreement until your blue in the face, but all they have to do is deny it. If you could get the property manager to testify that you guys did indeed have a verbal contract then you may have a case. I’d say you should talk to a lawyer about it. This case definitely requires one. Do you have any check stubs showing that you have been paying the rent bi-weekly??? If you have already been paying bi-weekly and you have the check stubs to prove it and those checks have cleared the bank because the property manager has been cashing them in then you have proof to show the judge that you and the property manager are under an “Implied Contract.” There are many more factors that go into this case like who you signed the contract with (property manager or property owner), what kind of relationship do the property manager and the property owner have as specified in the terms and agreements of their contract, and many more. Speak with a lawyer regarding more of this issue. I’m no lawyer, my uncle is though, and from what I’ve learned from him and from what I’ve learned from law classes plus my real estate licensing class I can give you quite a well informed idea on this situation and how it will most likely pan out. If you would like to talk with me more about this issue I will do what I can to help you out with it. My email address is Just be sure to mention who you are in the subject line because I get a lot of junk mail. Take care, and good luck.


  10. May 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm, Guest said:

    I was just going through this with my dad because me and my girlfriend are thinking about moving into a house together. My pops said it’s not a good idea, because my girlfriend might default on the mortgage and I’ll be stuck paying the whole thing. He said that if I do get one that I make sure that my name is on the mortgage and not hers, and just have her rent the space out from me. I’m not going to do that of course because bringing something like that up may hurt our releationship, but in your case it might not be a bad idea. I’ve had friends on top of friends that have defaulted on my other friends and stuck them with the bills. It’s very costly and a huge waste of time and energy. Since your young I recommend living together in an apartment first to see if you’ll even be able to stand your friends later on, because I also have a lot of friends that went in together on a condo., and then they found out that they didn’t work well together. One liked to party and have friends over while the other ones trying to get some shut eye because he has work early the next morning. So I recommend that you all go in together on an apartment first so if you find out that you can’t live together, or one or more of you guys default on the mortgage you you’ll still be able to afford the place without messing up any of your credit lines. Just some food for thought, but if you do decide to go through with getting a house then these are the bills me and my folks came up with…
    1) Utilities.
    2) Trash Removal.
    3) Cable bill if you can afford it.
    4) Upkeep on the house.
    5) Insurance on the house protection.
    6) Closing costs on the house (one time when you buy it, but expensive)
    7) Mortgage
    8) MIP (Mortgage Insurance Protection)
    9) Upkeep on all appliances; A/C, Furnace, Exterior, Roof, Sump Pump, Lighting.
    10) Upkeep on household appliances; Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, Interior, Refrigerater, Freezer, Sinks, Toilets, Oven, Bathtubs and showers, T.V.s, VCRs, Blue Ray, Video Games, Computers, gotta be more but can’t think of them right now.
    11) Furniture
    12) Groceries
    13) Toiletries
    14) Silverware
    15) Medicines such as Tylonel, Aspirin, Niquel, Dayquil, Peptobismal, etc…
    16) First aid kit

    Personal Payments
    1) Emergency Fund- Need to have money saved up that you won’t touch in case something serious comes up (injury so you can’t perform work, unexpected bills like an unexpected dental bill for a root canal or something, etc… I think you get the point)
    2) If you already have a car your going to need to save up for your next one, cause 1 isn’t lasting you your whole life.
    3) Upkeep for the car.
    4) Auto insurance.
    5) Gas is more expensive now then ever so approximate how many times your going to fill up.
    6) Car license renewal fees.
    7) Health Insurance.
    8) Dr. bills (if needed).
    9) Dentist.
    10) Optomologist bill (if you wear glasses).
    11) Perscription Medication (if your taking any).
    12) Pet (Optional)
    13) Pet upkeep (Optional)
    14) Clothes
    15) Haircuts
    16) Credit Cards
    17) Partying/Entertainment
    18) Girlfriends, unless you all plan on being eligable bachelors while your living together.
    19) College or any further education (Optional but highly recommended if you plan on making over $15/hr. and be able to afford your own place someday).
    20) IRA (Independent Retirement Fund- So you don’t have to move in with your children right after retirement). I highly recommend a “ROTH IRA” as a savings vehicle because you are taxed on the total money you put in up front. Say you put in $2,000, the IRA taxes you on the $2,000 dollars up front rather than the $200,000 that you make from investing that money. That’s a huge difference. Instead of being taxed a good $40,000 on the $200,000 you’ve made from that “ROTH IRA” you’ll be taxed up front on the $2,000 you’ve put in the ROTH account. What’s that like $400-$500. HUGE DIFFERENCE. Max amount of money you can put into a ROTH account in 1 single year is $4,000. I think it’s $8,000 if your filing jointly, but I’m not sure. Anywho ******There’s a HUGE difference between a ROTH IRA and a Traditional IRA so note this difference****** ROTH you are taxed up front on the $2,000. Traditional you are taxed on the result of what the $2,000 made for you. Make sure you go ROTH, because it will be the difference between $400 and $40,000.
    19) I recommend another form of interest bearing account too. Go to a fund manager and set yourself up with a mutual fund. I go through “Charles Schwabb,” but I’m not sure if they take accounts if your just starting off and have very little money to invest. I dropped $20,000 off to my fund manager and I don’t think that is even enough. I think the only reason I have an account through them is because my dad has and enormous chunk of change with that same fund manager. If your just starting out though I would recommend you to go through Legg Mason. They’ll take you in for as little as like $50 or something, and they’ll accept monthly contributions as low as $25…, well I shouldn’t actually say that cause I don’t know the exact number, but it’s between $25-$45 of a monthly contribution. That’s a better start than $0.

    In Conclusion

    I believe that a house is way out of all of your budgets. You could do great affording the house alone, but what will sink you guys in the long run is the expenses that go along with owning the house, and the expenses that all of you will incur with your individual expenses. You guys could afford an apartment no problem though. I’m very proud to hear that some of America’s youth still have goals and ambitions though (myself included, I’m not very much older than you guys 23).

    All Options

    1) Buy a house- lose it and have to move back in with your parents in less than 2 years, possibly even 1 year.

    2) Buy a townhome- live poor until you find better jobs.

    3) Buy a condo.- live how you would live in an apartment, but with a few more fees tacked on because you live their and own the unit rather than just renting it out. Also if common elements (examples, parking lot, sidewalk, tennis courts, pool gym, roof, anything shared by all the condo. owners) need repair you will be billed and that bill will come unexpectedly.

    4) Rent- ***Best option*** for you guys in my opinion. You all can afford it very easily and live like kings in the place, but the only downside is it’s really close quarters for 4 people, and you won’t be able to sell it once you decide to move on to bigger and better properties.

    If you need or want anymore advice from me feel free to hit up my personal email. It’s specify who this is and make it stand out from all my other junk mail or else I will confuse it with the junk mail and end up throwing it away. Take care guys, and if I don’t hear from you good luck.


  11. June 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm, Guest said:

    Another expense that you will HAVE to deal with is the actual cost of the move ITSELF! Whether you have to rent a U-HAUL or borrow vehicles and/or people to help, you will be paying TONS for gas and paying for anything you rent for the actual move (appliance dolly’s for example). And many places require huge deposits to set up utilities for the first time…. my electric depost was $305! Water deposit was only $45. Good luck and happy hunting!


  12. March 03, 2009 at 11:47 am, Guest said:

    For my stats class we have to come up with 5 different rental properies and their number of bed and bath, square footage, rent cost, amenities, rental deposit, application fees, and other fees plus the name of the companies that provide the services for that area. Any help with that?


  13. May 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm, Anonymous said:

    One of these days when I win the lottery I am going to buy some apartment and “fee” the hell out of everyone. Here in Houston most apartments now charge:

    1) $50 application fee (they run your credit report. No other business charges money to run your dredit report. this is pure profit for them, it takes a few seconds on the computer.)
    2) $150 processing fee (to print out your lease. it takes a few seconds to print a freaking lease, give me a break.
    3) $300 pet fee. In addition to your $200 pet deposit. WTF?
    4) Garbage fee, water fee, gas fee. All the rest.

    The apartments I’m about to move into also charge a $10/month pet rent.

    It wasn’t very long ago there were none of these fees, you just paid a deposit and the rent. Now it’s just ridiculous. Whatever, that’s the price you pay for not buying a house.


  14. June 01, 2009 at 3:10 pm, SORIANOS BETHS JENNIFERS said:



  15. October 08, 2010 at 3:06 pm, Claireify said:

    You’re right! These are new fees that landlords are putting in place to keep the bottom line in the black. It’s ridiculous to charge a $50 application fee that is NON-REFUNDABLE and then get a thumbs down because your credit rating isn’t high enough. How are you ever going to save up for the frigging deposit when you DO find a place?But current legislation in most states lets them get away with this crap. Write a letter to your Senators and Congressional Reps and send letters to the editor of your local newspapers. We are going to face the same thing in about three months because we’re short selling our house. Maybe we’ll just buy a trailer home.


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