Watch Those Hidden Fees!

You're aware of your rent, but are you aware of the extra fees?

Savvy consumers know that companies do all kinds of things to increase the bottom line and landlords are no different. Renters may discover that while the rent seems reasonable, the landlord has induced charges for utilities or other amenities that add up to be a huge difference. As tenants scramble to find the right place, landlords try to find the right price. And both parties are getting creative about how and when to spend their money.

While utilities aren't exactly a hidden cost, they are often overlooked by tenants eager to move into a new apartment or renew their current lease. Tenants need to take the expense into consideration when determining the overall cost of the property.

Protect Yourself

Before signing your lease, make sure you apply the best practices in order to protect yourself:

  • Ask questions about utility service before you sign a lease
  • Set up your utility accounts quickly
  • Pay utility bills promptly and keep documentation of all payments
  • Take steps to protect yourself with the landlord
  • Act immediately to resolve utility disputes

Read Between the Lines

Always pay attention to the fine print when agreeing to something with your landlord. There are other fees, besides utilities, that might be charged by them. Some of these are optional additions determined by a certain tenant’s particular situation, but others apply to everyone.

The add-ons can include pet fees or a separate charge for parking. Some properties charge an application fee, whether or not the prospective renter is approved.

Other properties, particularly condos or developments subject to homeowners’ associations (HOAs), charge move-in fees for tenant-occupied units. Amenities, such as cable TV or Internet access, which are not considered utilities under most ordinances, might also be billed through an HOA or the landlord.

Of course, this is all in addition to a security deposit and any rent you might have to pay, like first and last month’s rent due upon move-in.

All of these are things you should always keep into considering before renting that home you've had your eye on. If you would like to know more about how Suncoast Property Management carefully and tentatively handles our tenants don't hesitate to call or email us with your questions!