What Does Your Rent Include?

The problems associated with renting an apartment, especially for those who know nothing about real estate, differ from one location to another. This is why it is always a good idea to use the services of professionals who work in the industry. Doing so provides security against all kinds of surprises you may encounter after signing your lease.

If this is your first time renting, you may wonder what is included in the monthly rent. Your property may pay all of the basic utilities such as electricity and water. Other properties may pay for some of the utilities and make you pay for the remainder of them. This is why you need to read the lease carefully and ask the property manager which utilities you are responsible for paying. In general, you can expect to pay for any “extra” utilities such as cable, landline phone and Internet.

[ Related: Budgeting for the Hidden Costs of Renting an Apartment ]


Your Budget
In the event that most of your utilities are not included in the rent, you will need to learn how to budget your income in such a way that you will be able to pay rent and utilities on time. You should set up a savings account to assist you during emergencies when you are low on money and in need of spare cash. You should also budget for groceries, clothing and any housewares you may need for the apartment. Take advantage of government benefits or services from local nonprofit organizations when needed.

Who Handles the Repairs?
Some tenants wonder if they are responsible for repairs in the apartment. Typically the tenant would be responsible for making small repairs such as patching or filling small holes in the wall. On the other hand, the landlord would be responsible for repairing appliances or the central heating/air conditioning system when needed.

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How Utilities Should Be Used
If your property pays for certain utilities, you’ll want to be mindful of your usage so that the property manager will not have a high utility bill to pay each month. For instance, if your property pays the water bill, you should monitor your water usage and look for ways to cut back each day.

Insurance Against Accidents
Accidents and disasters can happen, and you should think about obtaining rental insurance to cover your losses should damage occur at your apartment. Keep in mind that rental insurance is not generally included in the rent, so you will need to purchase it separately. Be sure to research different policies to determine which one best suits your needs.

[ Related: Get to Know Your Rights as a Renter in D.C. ]

Discussions First
It is always a good idea to speak with your property manager before you sign the lease, so that there will not be surprises when it is time to pay rent. To help make your monthly finances a bit easier to manage, consider an apartment that includes utilities in the rent. You may end up paying higher, but you will not have to worry about extra expenses each month.

Be sure to make your rent payments on time, and try to keep your apartment in good condition to avoid running afoul of your lease. Make it your goal to be the best tenant ever.

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