Moving In: Hidden Fees and ExpensesDecember 21st, 2005 by aptsherpa
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.
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 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.