What Is Covered By My Rent?
From one apartment or property to the next, the items and amenities included in your rent will differ. Some rental agreements are all-inclusive while others offer supplemental amenities for an additional charge. In one location, your rent includes utilities like gas and electric, but not cable or Internet access, while another requires the tenants to make individual arrangements with all utility providers.
Exercise rooms, pools, community or meeting rooms, barbecue pits and theatres are just some of the amenities you might find in a modern apartment complex. Some of these features might have extra fees or deposits for their use. For example, the meeting room or theater use might be included in your rent, but a refundable (or non-refundable) $50 cleaning deposit is required each time you use it. Pools and theaters might require special deposits for keys or to use certain equipment.
When comparing the cost of one property over another, find out what utilities are covered. Depending on your need for heat or air conditioning, for example, a rent that includes those utilities may save you money over a lower rent that doesn’t. You don’t want to rent a great apartment in the spring that is impossible for you to keep cool in the summer or warm in the winter because of the high cost of utilities.
When “Free” Isn’t Free
If you choose the apartment with the most amenities included in the rent, make sure they are things you will use. If parking space is included and you don’t have a car, your free parking space is costing you. If you are under contract with a gym membership, you’ll either lose money on it or pay extra for the apartment’s gym, although the convenience might be worth it. Free cable television isn’t useful to you if you only stream video on your computer. Most of the amenities you pay for should be of true benefit to you.
In an apartment or rental home, all exterior maintenance is the landlord’s responsibility with the possible exception of the yard in a rental home. A renter is not responsible for painting the exterior or repairing the roof. You might be asked to clear snow from a ground floor walkway, or care for a fenced-enclosed patio, so check with the landlord and make sure those requirements are spelled out in the rental agreement.
Interior maintenance is a different matter. Typically, small items like a plugged sink or burned out light bulb fall to the renter. But, if the light fixture requires an expensive specialty bulb, or the issue causing the plugged sink is a mal-functioning garbage disposal, the landlord may take care of it. Typically if a light fixture requires a ladder to change the bulb, the landlord will help you out.
Structural problems like leaks in the roof or a termite infestation are also typically the landlords’ responsibility, but an ant infestation because you dripped pancake syrup on the floor is probably your problem. Ask as many questions about required maintenance as possible before you sign a lease so that you aren’t stuck with more than you bargained for.