In addition to paying rent, there are other costs you will be responsible for when renting a home. It’s important to understand these additional costs before you sign a lease.



Utilities is the general term for essential services such as gas, electricity, water, or sewer service that keep the apartment or house you rent functioning properly. These services are provided by outside companies or through your city or town. Gas or electricity may be used to heat your home, and electricity to cool it. And every rental will have electricity to power appliances, lights, and devices. The most common utilities a renter is responsible for in an apartment are gas and electricity. If you rent a house, it is possible your lease may require that you also pay for water and/or sewer service costs.



Some utilities may be included in your rent, and you may have to pay for others. The utilities you are responsible to pay for will be written in your lease. When you move into a rental, you will have to open accounts with the companies that provide the utilities. The landlord or management company should be able to provide the name of the company or companies you will need to contact to set up accounts. You will receive a bill (usually each month) from the provider of the utility. If you do not pay by the due date written on your bill, you may be charged a penalty fee.


Before you sign a lease, you may be able to get an estimate of the monthly cost of the utilities from the owner or management company, or by calling the utility company. But remember, the cost of utilities can change month to month. No matter what the cost, however, you should always conserve energy and water. Also, depending on where you rent, there may be discount or budget payment programs for which renters with limited income can apply.



You may have a choice of internet providers in your rental, and you should pick a plan that you can afford and that meets your needs.


Other Costs

When renting, there may be other costs you are responsible for such as trash pickup or yard maintenance, but these would mostly be additional costs in house rentals and are not common when renting an apartment. Also, in some parts of the U.S., houses are heated with oil or propane gas and the renter may be responsible for filling these tanks when they get low.


Remember, it is important to calculate and budget for these extra costs when you are considering renting an apartment or house so you can understand your total monthly housing costs.


Disclaimer: This article was created in partnership with Refugee Housing Solutions. Refugee Housing Solutions is a project of Church World Service under an agreement paid for by the U.S. Department of State.