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Understanding the Costs of Renting

Your monthly rent may not be the only thing you have to budget for. Be sure to factor in all of the potential costs when planning to rent.

Upfront costs

  • Application fee. Landlords may charge you an application fee. This can add up if you apply to multiple properties.
  • Security deposit. Landlords usually require a security deposit equal to one or two months rent. You’ll be expected to have this money ready when you sign the lease.
  • Pet deposit or fee. If you have a pet, you may have to pay a pet deposit. Alternatively, some landlords may charge a monthly fee for you to keep your pet.
  • Move-in fee. You may be charged a non-refundable move-in fee.
  • Broker fee. If you used a for-fee broker to help you find your rental, you may be responsible for the broker’s fee. (No-fee brokers are paid by the landlord.)

Recurring costs

  • Utilities. Utilities include things like electricity, gas, water, cable, and Internet. Some or all of the utilities may be included in your rent.
  • Renters insurance. Whatever you do, don’t skip renter’s insurance! For a relatively low monthly cost, you can insure all of your belongings in your home. In case of a fire or other catastrophe, you’ll be glad to have the financial help to replace your furniture, clothing, computers, TVs and other high-cost items.
  • Parking fee. More common in densely populated areas, the cost of a monthly parking spot can add significantly to your monthly housing cost.
  • Amenities fee. Some rental communities charge for amenities such as an on-site gym or pool. You’ll be charged whether or not you use these amenities.
  • Yard maintenance. If you rent a single-family home or townhome, you’ll be responsible for the upkeep of the yard, and may choose to pay someone else to do it.
  • Laundry. If you don’t have a washer and dryer in your unit, you’ll likely be paying for coin-operated laundry.
  • Rent increases. Your rent will likely increase over time with inflation.
  • Moving costs. If you have to move more than once within a few years, those moving costs can really add up.


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