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Real Estate Tips

Should You Rent an Apartment with Utilities Included?

Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2017
When you rent an apartment, do you want utilities like lighting, heat, and garbage collection to be included?

When you are renting an apartment, you have a checklist in your hand or in your head. You want a certain number of bedrooms, specific amenities, and perhaps you have a neighborhood in mind. As you prepare to rent, you need to decide among these and many other options. One of your options might be to choose an apartment where the utilities are included. Is this a good financial and logistical choice?

Utility Prices Change

If you're trying to rent an apartment that allows you to make a consistent financial commitment every month, then signing up for a fixed utility cost sounds like an excellent idea for your budget. After all, it can be hard to predict the cost of your utilities from month to month. That's because not only does your usage change, but utility costs can change over time as well. Choosing a fixed utility rate can make you feel more financially secure. Your landlord will likely set a consistent rate over the course of the year, and this will take into account seasonal swings in energy use. This means you won't be hit with an expensive heating bill in December or an exorbitant cooling bill in the summer months.

Paying One Bill Is Easier

Another advantage of having your utilities come in a single bill from your landlord is that you avoid the monthly juggle of finances and paper. When you're paying different bills for heat, gas, garbage, and other household utilities, you need to make sure that you pay each one. Also, every time you move, you need to change your address with the utility company and arrange for new bill payments. Having a single utility bill simplifies your life just a little bit more.

In the winter, it can be helpful to have a fixed utility cost to spread out winter bills throughout the year.

Is Your Landlord Responsible?

While it seems pleasant to give the responsibility of bill payments to someone else, you need to ask yourself whether your landlord will take care of this for you. If you have a landlord who fails to pay a bill on time, services such as hot water and electricity might be suspended. You need to decide if you're comfortable relying on yourself to pay the bills or if you think that your landlord can do a better job.

Finding a Rental Apartment That Includes Utilities

You've decided that you want the convenience of a single, consistent bill every month, but can you find an apartment that provides this service? The all-in-one bill payment option used to be much more popular than it is today. This means that if you're dedicated to finding an apartment where utilities are included, you may need to look longer and harder. You'll likely find that most new apartments are not set up to include utilities.

Read the Fine Print

If you choose to rent an apartment where all of your utilities are covered, make sure that you know what is really covered so that you don't have any surprises. Even though heat, water, garbage and electricity are common utilities that might be included, every landlord may have a different idea of what basic utilities to include in your rent price. Go over the details with your landlord before you sign the contract to make sure that you truly understand the financial commitments that both of you are making.

Are you renting your first home or transitioning to a new rental? At Open for Homes, we're here to help you find the right home for you or your family. Take a look at the blog at Open For Homes and get the advice you need to find the perfect fit.