Potential Hidden Costs of Renting an Apartment

David Sung | September 3, 2013

Life would be so much simpler if you only had to pay the amount listed on the price tag, but often that isn’t the case, especially when it comes to renting an apartment. If you’re currently renting or thinking about renting an apartment, there are many associated costs that are often overlooked. Many of the extra or hidden costs from the application process to monthly bills can sneak up on you.  

Application fee

To determine if you’re qualified to rent an apartment, you’re required to fill out an application. Applications hold no commitment value, meaning you can fill out the application and have no obligation to rent if you are qualified. Because the application itself does not bring in money to the complex, an application processing fee is required to pay for employee time spent reviewing the application. The dollar amount for application fees range from $10 -$50.

Apartment Hold

If you find an available apartment that you like, you’re going to want to hold it while you look at other prospects. Depending on the terms of the apartment complex, the reserve or hold payment can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars, which holds the apartment for you for a few days. The complex will usually reimburse you whether you decide to rent the apartment or not.

Apartment Deposit

In most cases, the amount of an apartment deposit is either a full month’s rent or a portion of your rent. The deposit is held by the apartment complex until you move out. When your lease is coming to an end, the apartment complex will do a “walk-through” of your apartment to check for damages. Any costs associated with fixing the damaged property that occurred while you were living there will be taken out of your deposit. It’s a good idea to take notes or pictures of even the smallest imperfections to the apartment before you move in to prove that you’re not responsible for any damages.

Pet Deposits and Monthly Fees

A pet deposit is another common expense. It does not pay for damage to the property caused by your pets. Instead, any damages caused by your pet will be covered by the apartment deposit. So if your carpet has even the smallest visible pet stain, don’t expect to get your full apartment deposit back.

In addition to the pet deposit, you will likely have to pay a monthly pet fee. Pets cause damage that leave behind odors and dander, making the apartment value depreciate at a greater rate. Apartment complex owners know that people without pets will not likely want to move into an apartment where the previous owners had pets, making it harder for them to fill those particular units.

Parking Fees

Finding a parking spot is rarely an easy task especially at some of the older apartment complexes in densely populated areas. Apartments offer renters the option to pay an additional monthly fee for a reserved parking spot.

Gate Openers and Key Fobs

Many apartments are gated for security purposes and require a gate opener or key fob to enter the premises. Some complexes require a key fob deposit that will pay for a new key fob if you lose the one they give you. Be aware that just because you had to pay a deposit for the initial key fob does not mean the apartment will give you a new one if you lose or break it. If you do happen to lose or break your original key fob, you will likely have to pay for its replacement.

If you have a certain amount of money allocated for your move, be sure to ask the right questions and be sure you have all the information so that you have enough money to cover the expenses. Nothing is worse than losing your dream apartment as the result of poor planning.

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