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When you’re renting a unit, there are plenty of expenses to consider. You’ll need to know which bills you’ll be paying, how much they will cost, what utilities will be included in your rent, and other important details.

We’ll provide a rundown of the most common bills you’ll face as a renter so that you can be prepared financially for moving to a new property.

Read on to learn more about the bills you’ll encounter while renting.

a woman looking at the list of bills when renting

Which bills when renting will you be responsible for?

The bills you’ll be responsible for will depend on the type of rental agreement you have with your landlord or rental group. However, most leases require tenants to pay for electricity, water, internet, cable, and gas. In some cases, your landlord may also require you to pay for trash removal services.

There are many variations on rental bills depending on the type of unit you’re renting. For instance, many landlords will split bills with their tenants and cover part of the charge or will average out the cost of the bill depending on the usage in the building. This is especially true when it comes to water and trash removal services.

While it may seem better to have your landlord cover the bill, there are actually some benefits to paying them yourself. Most importantly, you’ll have more control over your budget, the quality of services, and how much you’re spending each month. For example, if you don’t like a particular cable or internet provider, you can simply switch to a new one.

Related: 12 Expenses When Renting You Need to Prepare For

On the other hand, there are perks of having your landlord cover your utilities as well. You won’t have to get into contractual agreements with various utility companies, which means that if you need to move out early, you won’t be liable for any early termination fees associated with your bills.

It also may save more money overall, which is a better deal if you don’t care who your providers are when it comes to your bills.

Approximate cost of bills when renting

It’s important to have a good idea of what costs you’ll be facing each month so that you can budget accordingly. Sometimes the bills you have to pay monthly can as much as double your living expenses, especially if you don’t plan ahead and find the best deal possible. 

So here is a list of bills to pay when renting an apartment alongside cost estimates, so you know what to expect.

1. Electricity: $100-$191 per month

Electricity makes up a large portion of your monthly bills, and for good reason. It’s responsible for powering everything in your home, from your lights and appliances to your HVAC system. The cost of electricity will vary depending on the size of your home, how often you use power-hungry appliances and the climate where you live.

If you live in a hot location such as Texas, Florida, or Arizona, you’ll be spending much more money on air conditioning than someone living in a cooler climate. The same is true for heat in the wintertime if you don’t heat your home using gas.

Your home’s insulation will also play a role in how much you spend on electricity. If your home is poorly insulated, you’ll likely find yourself spending more money to keep it at a comfortable temperature. Turning off appliances as well as unplugging them also helps to keep the electricity bill low from month to month.

Related: 9 Simple Steps to Keep Track of Bills and Payments

2. Water: $20-$100 per month

If you’re a single renter, you can expect to spend around $20-$35 per month on water. This includes both the cost of water itself and the sewerage fee that is often tacked on by municipalities.

Of course, if you live with roommates or have a family, your water bill will be much higher. A family of four can expect to spend around $100 per month on water, depending on how much water they use and where they live.

Different regulations exist in different locations, and some places, such as California, will regulate usage to make sure that there is a solid supply in the hot region. You’ll find that in these cases, your water bill may be a bit higher to make up for this loss in revenue.

a woman writing down bills when renting

3. Gas: $20-$150 per month

Gas varies greatly in its monthly price because, in cold regions, it is used for heating, while in other places it might just be used for cooking and hot water. Some people don’t have gas hooked up in their rental units at all and don’t even have this bill, and instead pay more on their electricity bill. The average gas bill for a single renter is $35 per month.

FYI: Similar to using electricity in summer months, using natural gas to heat your home in the winter could send your bill skyrocketing, especially if your home is poorly insulated. However, there are things you can do like insulating your windows with plastic sheets and using a space heater in a single room to help offset the cost.

4. Internet: $30-$70 per month

In today’s world, having a high-speed internet connection is practically a necessity. The cost of the internet plan will depend on the speed you need and the providers in your area. There are usually only a few companies to choose from, so you’ll want to shop around for the best deal.

For example, if you live in a rural area with only one provider, you may have to pay more for a slower connection than someone who lives in a city with multiple providers that offer competitive deals.

Many internet providers offer introductory deals that have heavily discounted rates for the first year or two and then raise the price after that. These deals may work well for you if you only plan on renting for a short time.

a couple enjoying a movie after paying bills when renting

5. Cable: $30-$100 per month

Cable TV is another monthly bill that can add up quickly. The price you’ll pay will depend on the provider you choose and the features you want, such as premium channels or DVR service.

You may be able to get a discount on your cable bill by bundling it with other services, such as the internet or phone service. The general mid-tier cable plan will cost between $30 to $100 each month, depending on the number of channels included.

Many people now opt to pay for a streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime instead of a traditional cable plan. These can be much cheaper, starting as low as $5.99 per month each.

6. Trash removal: $10-$20 per month

The cost of trash removal varies greatly depending on where you live. In most cities, trash removal is included in your rent.

If you’re in a rare situation where your trash removal service isn’t built into the rent, you can expect to pay around $10-$20 per month. This fee covers the cost of picking up and disposing of your trash.

Some places may have recycling programs that are included in this fee, while others may charge extra for it. If you need large items picked up, such as furniture or appliances, there may be an additional fee for that as well.

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7. Renter’s Insurance: $5-$50 per month

Renter’s insurance is not required by law, but it is highly recommended. This type of insurance protects your belongings in the event of a fire, theft, or other accident or disaster. It may also provide liability coverage in case someone is injured while on your property.

The cost of renter’s insurance varies depending on where you live and what type of coverage you want. You will need to itemize certain high-value items to make your claims legitimate. 

However, it’s generally low enough that it’s a no-brainer to pay for it and can protect your things and rights as a renter without much effort. You may also be able to get a discount if you have other insurance policies, such as car insurance, with the same company.

Related: Is Renting a Waste of Money? (20 Pros and Cons)

8. Parking: $40-$200 per month

For some, the idea of paying for parking is laughable. But for those who live in major metropolitan areas, parking can be a very real and expensive monthly bill.

The cost of parking depends on several factors, such as the location of your parking spot, whether it is covered or uncovered, if it’s temperature controlled, and if it is in a garage or on the street.

While dedicated parking spots can cost as much as $500 per month in busy areas, they will more commonly cost between $50 to $200. This can save you a lot of money when it comes to paying for parking garages, help you avoid parking tickets, and keep your car safe and secure.

a couple discussing their bills when renting

9. Phone: $30 – $120 per month

Dedicated landlines aren’t very common anymore, but some people still prefer to have one for making calls. The cost of a landline is usually around $30 to $60 per month, depending on the features you want and your location.

It’s also cheaper to have a landline if you have it set up alongside your internet or cable in a bundle.

For most people, however, a cell phone is the way to go. The average cell phone bill in the US is approximately $80 and can vary greatly depending on your provider and type of plan.

A family plan can save you money, as can opting for a prepaid plan. You can also save money by using your phone less often or by cutting down on the number of features you use.

Related: Leasing a Phone vs Buying It: Which Is Best For You?

10. Security deposit: the cost of one month’s rent

Although a security deposit isn’t usually a monthly bill, it’s a standard expense when renting an apartment. This deposit is held by the landlord in case of damages to the property or if you don’t pay your rent.

The amount of the security deposit is typically equal to one month’s rent, but it can be more or less depending on the landlord.

In some cases, the security deposit can be used as your last month’s rent, but this is not always the case. Be sure to ask your landlord about their policy on security deposits before you sign the lease.

11. Late fees: $20 – $50 per incident

If you don’t pay your rent on time, you will be charged a late fee. This is typically around $20 to $50, but it can be more depending on your lease agreement.

Some landlords will also charge a late fee if you don’t pay your other monthly bills on time, such as utilities or renter’s insurance. There’s usually a grace period of 3 to 5 days before these fees kick in.

Talk with your landlord about their policy on late fees to make sure you can avoid them as best as possible.

a man using his phone paying bills when renting using an app

12. HOA fees: $20 – $200 per month

For those who rent homes or apartments in complexes that offer many amenities, there may be a monthly Homeowners Association (HOA) fee. This fee covers the costs of maintaining the common areas, such as the swimming pool or gym, and can range from $50 to $200 per month.

There may also be penalties included under the HOA agreement. For example, if you violate the rules of the community, such as noise levels or parking in the wrong place, you may be charged a fine.

Be sure to read over the HOA agreement before signing your lease to avoid any unexpected fees.

Who pays utilities when renting a house?

More often than not, the tenant normally pays for the electricity and gas when renting a house, if not other utilities. Also, since a house usually has higher square footage than an apartment, the monthly utility bills will most likely be more expensive.

The landlord may agree to pay for some utilities, such as water or trash removal, as part of the lease agreement. But it’s still a good idea to ask about this before you sign anything and budget accordingly.

Do tenants pay for water when renting?

Whether or not you’re charged for water will depend on the property you’re renting and the landlord’s agreement. In some cases, the water bill may be included in your rent. But in other situations, you may be responsible for paying for it yourself.

If you are charged for water, it will usually be a usage rate that’s dependent on how much water you use each month. This will be in addition to any other utilities you’re responsible for, such as electricity or gas.

Another scenario is that the water bill will be split depending on the usage of the whole building for those who are renting multi-family homes or apartments. In this case, each tenant will get their own bill that they’re responsible for paying.

a woman over the phone complaining about her bills when renting

What is included in rent for a house?

The answer to this question will depend on the property you’re renting and the landlord’s agreement. But typically, rent for a house will just include the monthly cost of the property itself and fees associated with ownership such as property tax.

Of course, this can differ depending on your own contract. It can also differ depending on where you live, with it being more common in some countries for, say, water to be paid by the landlord – at least up to a certain amount.

Do renters pay property tax?

Renters rarely pay property tax directly. To directly pay this tax, the tenant would need to send the amount owed to the government collection agency. However, this is normally handled by the landlord, who in turn factors property tax expenses into the overall rate of rental.

In fact, not having to pay property tax is often cited as one of the benefits of renting, along with things like not having to pay for rentals, anything more than minor repairs and other costs along those lines.

Do renters pay home insurance?

No, it’s not typical for a tenant to pay for home insurance. This is because home insurance covers the rental property, which isn’t owned by the renter, but by the landlord. Renters should, however, consider getting renter’s insurance to cover their items inside of the home. 

These two insurances work together to fully protect both the property and the belongings inside of it.

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