When you're looking to rent a new apartment, one of the first things to consider is how much it'll cost you each month. Most people think of the obvious costs like rent and utilities, but they can overlook the hidden fees required as part of the application process.
We are going to help you understand all of the fees that can come with renting an apartment. That way, when you're trying to figure out if you can afford a new place, you'll know everything to tally up and what to include in your rental budget.
Moving into an apartment is a very exciting time in life. While there are many things to consider before moving in such as location, neighborhood, commute times and amenities, one of the most important things to consider is the miscellaneous fees involved with renting.
One of the fees that you should take a deeper look at is the admin fee. What is an admin fee you might ask? An admin fee is a cost that you pay when the landlord takes the apartment off the market during the application process. Simply put, the admin fee secures the rental apartment for you.
As mentioned above, there are many different types of fees that you may encounter when moving into a new apartment. Some of these include the admin fee, a move-in fee and a security deposit fee. These three fees may sound similar and are often confused as the same thing, however, they do have some differences. Below are descriptions of what they are, how they work and how they affect your total rental costs.
The admin fee is the fee you pay for the landlord or agent taking the time to do your application all while holding the apartment off the market. The fee typically ranges between $50 and $200 however, in some states, the amount a landlord charges is regulated. Also, some apartment complexes will credit this towards your first month's rent while others will not. The admin fee is often non-refundable while there are some expectations to this rule depending on the state.
The move-in fee is another fee that you will see often when moving to a new place. This is a fee that the landlord will often charge to make slight changes and touch-ups to the apartment before you move in. These may include things such as repainting, touching up the carpet, changing the locks or power washing the patio. This fee usually costs anywhere from $150 to $350 and it is also often non-refundable. However, you can think of this as a deep cleaning charge so when you move into the apartment, it's sparkling clean and fresh for you.
A security deposit is one of the most common fees you will come across when moving into a new apartment. The security deposit is a sum of money, typically given upfront, that the landlord keeps until you move out. There are only a few circumstances that you would not get your deposit back. These are things like causing damage far beyond normal wall scuffs and scratches. For instance, if your pet ruins the carpet or walls, if you spill wine on the carpet and it won't come out or if you hang pictures on the wall and destroy the drywall. If this is the case the landlord will often deduct the price of damage repair from the deposit. The deposit is usually the same amount as your first month's rent.
Apartment complexes charge admin fees for a number of reasons. As mentioned above, the fee pays for the time the landlord takes to consider if your application will be accepted. Some of the fees also go to running background checks, credit checks, gathering references all to determine if you'll be a good applicant. Like any other service, the administration of your move requires compensation.
It is often unlikely that you will receive a refund for your admin fees. Unlike a security deposit that is often refundable, the admin fee is not. That being said, there are cases in which you will get a full or partial refund. One of these exceptions is if your application doesn't go through or if the landlord decides against you living there. In this case, you will receive a refund. This is also often determined by our state and its regulations.
While we all want to save as much money as possible when moving, it's not always possible. Unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to avoid paying the admin fee. While it can feel annoying to pay a fee for paperwork, in most cases it's unavoidable. In most states, administration fees when renting an apartment are commonplace. Most landlords will be reluctant to waive the fee due to the Fair Housing Act requiring one tenant to pay the fee while waiving another. It's also important for many landlords to know who is living in their apartments. While this is most often the case there are always exceptions to this rule depending on the landlord and your agreement.
Moving to a new apartment is often daunting — from finding the right apartment and location to the fees you have to pay. While figuring out the difference between fees is hard, it's important to know what you're paying for.
It's often worthwhile to take the time to sit down and budget out what you are willing to pay. When doing this make sure to take into consideration all the fees that come with the moving process. There are many fees to look for, discussed above, such as admin fees, security deposits and move-in fees. Make sure to do your research before deciding to move into a building. That way, you'll know what to expect and how much it'll cost you.