Understanding Expected Utility Bills as a Renter

By chrisrath • March 24th, 2011

The benefit of moving into a rental property is that those who are leasing space generally do not have the same responsibilities in regard to home care as those who own their own homes. Concerns regarding general upkeep and major maintenance usually fall back on the owner of the home and are taken care of by the rental property manager. Things like utility bills, on the other hand, are not handled the same way everywhere you turn.

utility bills shocking womanThe Water Bill

Make sure your lease states whether or not you will be responsible for the water and sewer utility bills. It is very common for a landlord to include water and sewer in your rent but you may find that this particular utility is not included if you are renting a single family dwelling. It may depend on whether you are leasing a private or business space, too.

Gas and Electric

Gas and electric are major utilities and your responsibilities need to be clearly stated at the time you sign your lease. It is very common to see home and apartment owners include gas in the rent but it is not always done this way. Sometimes gas is included in the rent but the renter then finds that everything in the home, including the stove, is electric. This can be misleading and discouraging – especially if you are living in an older home that requires higher electricity usage.

Telephone and Cable

Telephone and cable are almost never included in the rent for apartments or dwellings. You might find a landlord in a duplex willing to share a television cable line for a nominal fee but you might not. Some senior citizen rentals include these costs in the rent but these are few and far between as well.

Make sure you take the time to talk to your rental property manager about the utilities that are included in your lease before you sign on the dotted line. There’s nothing worse than thinking something is included only to find you don’t have enough money for it in your budget later on.

About the author

chrisrath I enjoy helping people find that right home whenever faced with a relocation situation due to their job or even a major life event. Since I have access to a large inventory of homes for sale and also manage many properties in the northern Delaware region, it is easy for us to help anyone make a smooth transition into this area. I am a licensed Real Estate Agent and also manage my own company Rath Management where we locate, screen, secure, counsel, and communicate with the tenant and the investor throughout the entire leasing process to keep homes filled. Our company also manages maintenance issues, collects and forwards rent monies, and even helps with the dreaded eviction process in the event a tenant does not keep up with the terms. Chris Rath

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