When you move into an apartment complex, you get handed a big stack of papers. In that stack is almost always information on signing up with the local telecommunications and utilities companies. Some even include special deals–group rates that your complex negotiated with the company in question.
In most apartment complexes, you have the option of choosing the package put together by apartment management or going out looking for a deal on your own. If your complex manager tries to tell you that you can only use a certain provider, and you’re interested in another company’s services, there is hope.
The FCC banned exclusive agreements between telecommunications providers and apartment buildings. That means that you have freedom to choose your telecommunications provider.
Going with your apartment complexes choice can be a good idea, though, especially if you live in an area with fairly limited options. Nick from Tulsa, OK was able to get cable installed without paying installation fees by going through the apartment’s company. His first choice was Cox Cable, the main cable company in Tulsa. “Cox has a deal with no installation fees for apartment residents. I would have gotten Cox either way, but the deal saved me money.”
Some apartment complexes offer certain services as part of your rent, like Internet access. Shannon from Austin, TX says, “In Texas, you can use any carrier that services the area. The only exception is if the place comes with Internet as part of the rent. But, it’s usually so terribly slow that you’d be better off getting your own.” If you’re considering renting an apartment with provided services, checking out just what kind of service you can expect is key.
Raquel from Tulsa, OK notes that her apartment complex works with only one electric provider. She doesn’t mind their service or prices, generally. However, Raquel would switch utility companies if she had another option. Price isn’t the issue, she says. “I would be willing to pay a little more for wind power or other sustainable energy.”
Many apartment complexes consider their utility and telecommunications packages part of the perks of apartment living: most service providers are willing to offer a slightly lower price to apartment residents on the basis of the higher numbers of service users in a particular area. But many apartment residents are concerned about issues beyond price–the quality of service and lifestyle choices also factor in.