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8 Tips Renters Should Know Before Signing A Lease To Avoid Paying Expensive Rent

8 Tips Renters Should Know Before Signing A Lease To Avoid Paying Expensive Rent(Photo: dragana991 / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Savvy renters may believe they have a good understanding of the costs of renting in today’s market. Some costs are obvious, while others are less so. These expenses may come as a surprise to your bank account if you don’t plan ahead of time to pay for them.

(Photo: iStock)


Renters Insurance

Before signing a lease, renters should find out if they will be required to purchase renters insurance.

A renters insurance policy, according to Rachel Stults, managing editor of, is an important safety net that can save you from large expenses and headaches. Many landlords will require renters to have insurance on their personal belongings in the event of a disaster. Some properties may suggest businesses.


Be aware of any hidden costs associated with electricity. According to Andy Feiwel, a Compass real estate agent in New York City, packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) use electricity for the fans.

“I would make sure there is at least a thermostat that can regulate when the unit turns on, as opposed to running continuously,” he advised.

Additional Utilities

Some apartments include utilities in the rent, while others do not. Renters must be prepared to pay for utilities such as electricity, gas, water,

and trash on their own. Renters must also pay for cable, internet, and cell phone service, as well as possibly monthly pest control fees, according to Stults.

“Before signing a lease, make sure to ask your potential landlord for a breakdown of all the fees you’ll be charged and how frequently,” Stults advised, “so you can create an accurate budget.”

Gas/Central Boiler Fee and Sewage Fee

These are some of the other hidden fees Feiwel has seen landlords in larger buildings charge their tenants. Check to see if this information is available before submitting an application.


For a designated parking spot, most properties will charge a monthly fee. This cost can quickly add up as well. Stults claims that in urban areas where parking is scarce, a parking spot can cost more than $200 per month.


Pet rent and security deposits are now required in all rentals. Pet rent and pet security deposits are now standard in all rentals. Even if you don’t have a pet right now but are thinking about getting one soon, you should account for this additional expense.”


Some rentals may provide residents with additional on-site storage units. The only catch is that you’ll have to pay if you want to use it. Stults suggests inquiring ahead of time about storage options, including whether they exist and how much they might cost.


According to Stults and Feiwel, charging an amenity fee for use of common areas is a growing trend in buildings. Gyms, rooftop decks, heated pools, game rooms, and Wi-Fi lounges are just a few examples.

While the decision to charge an amenity fee varies by building, it is possible that initially complimentary perks will become a paid policy. Do not assume that the cost is completely included in the rent.


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