Do you know how your landlord is charging for utilities?

Does Rent Include Utilities?

It depends, but in general, rent will not include all of your utilities, and you should plan and budget accordingly. While your landlord might cover a few utility bills, tenants will almost certainly be on the hook for the majority of utilities.

Here’s what you need to know about who pays for what. 

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Tips for Saving Money on Your Internet Bill

A little hunting for a special offer can go a long way if you want to save money on your internet bill. First, check what your options are from various local providers so that you’re aware of the normal prices on the market. Then, look for any special offers, sign-up bonuses or discounts. You can also contact customer service and ask for a personalized deal. Usually, they’re willing to offer a discount if you’re willing to commit to their service.

Ways to keep your average utility costs low

These days, technology has made it a lot easier an

These days, technology has made it a lot easier and less expensive to purchase gadgets that help you understand how much energy you’re consuming.

You can try searching in your area for energy-efficient apartments, which are equipped with things like ENERGY STAR appliances and improved insulation. This can help keep the heat in during the winter and the hot air out during the summers.

There are also federal ENERGY STAR programs that certify multifamily apartments and condos that are at least 15 percent more energy efficient.

According to ENERGY STAR, you can make these simple swaps and save some money.

  1. Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures to energy-efficient ones. Savings: Around $65 a year.
  2. Turn off lights when leaving a room. Savings: Around $15 a year.
  3. Get a programmable thermostat and set it to a more efficient temperature when you’re sleeping or not home. Savings: Up to $150 a year.

How to save money from huge utility bills?

⭐ Substitute a smart thermostat for your old thermostat. 

⭐ Swap out with energy-efficient alternatives for your lightbulbs. 

⭐ Replace your curtains with curtains that are insulated. 

⭐ Unplug all your electronics when you’re not using them. 

⭐ Get your house’s solar panels. 

⭐ If it’s more than 10 years old, replace your water heater. 

⭐ Replace the air filter on your furnace once every three months.

Seasonality Utility Savings Tips for Renters

Seasonality affects your utility bills. Hot and humid outside temperatures will make you blast the air conditioning inside your apartment. Cooler weather might make your home too cold, making you reach for the thermostat to increase the heat. Slash your utility bills with these savings tips!

Spring

You can definitely save on your spring utility bills. Opening your windows and letting in a cross breeze can help lower your electric bill. Also, put in a maintenance request to have your air conditioner’s filters changed. According to the Department of Energy, frequently changing the filter can decrease energy consumption by 15 percent.

Summer

Keeping the blinds closed and curtains shut can block out unwanted heat in your home. Turning on the ceiling fans will lower your home temperature by a couple of degrees, affording you the opportunity to turn off your thermostat temporarily and still stay cool. 

Fall

Fall is an excellent time to seal off any openings that may leak out air, which could increase your gas and electric bills. Weather this time of year is typically pleasant, and opening the windows can keep your home temperature regulated.

Winter

You need to keep warm in the winter without cranking up the heat. Keep your heat bill low by opening up the blinds to let in the sunshine. Bundling up with socks and long sleeves can help you save money as well.

If you have a fireplace, you’ll be able to keep the thermostat lower and let the fire heat your home instead.

How much does it cost to turn on utilities for the first time?

Generally, you should not encounter any extra costs to set up utilities as first time renter. Utilities like electric and gas will begin accruing charges for usage at the date they are set up. However, some internet and cable companies will charge an installation fee either upfront, or included with your first monthly bill. Common installation charges for internet and cable usually run around $90.

The cost of your monthly utility bills will be dependent on how frequently you use them, as well as several other factors including the following:

  • The size of your space
  • The number of roommates
  • Building age and location
  • Type of rental unit
  • Seasonal changes

The size of your apartment, how many people you live with, how old the building is, and where you live all determine how you’ll allocate your funds for renting house utilities. For instance, you won’t need to crank up the AC if you live somewhere with mild summers. Similarly, some utility bills can fluctuate based on seasonal usage. 

Whether renting a house or an apartment, you may also have different utilities to set up before move-in, like coordinating with oil and natural gas providers. Ask the property owner for monthly averages to better estimate what specific utilities when renting a house or apartment costs. If you’re moving out of state, you’ll want to research the cost of living in your new area. You can also utilize user-driven sites like Numbeo that gather cost of living information from residents across the country.

As for cable and internet, do your research to find which providers offer the best packages or promotions in your area based on your individual needs. If you only use the internet for browsing, you probably don’t need to pay for lightning-fast service. Keep in mind, some apartment buildings have contracts with specific providers so your options could be limited in this regard.

Can My Landlord Charge A Premium For Water If They Pay?

In theory, they can charge a small fee for admin but they cannot levy any substantial premium on the bill from the utility company.

If the landlord pays for a utility, they are required to pass on the same bill plus a “small fee” which is limited by law to the cost of the utility company managing the same account.

Water costs are not dramatically higher than other
Water costs are not dramatically higher than other parts of the US, although the transport of water to major metros like Los Angeles is a complex endeavor.

However, in practice, as we’ve already noted – it is unlikely that the water costs will be broken out as a line item if it is included in the rent. That means that the landlord may be charging a premium on the bill and one that you cannot dispute in a court.

In most cases, what prevents the landlord from getting greedy in these circumstances is that you can ascertain the market rate for rental properties in the area and roughly calculate whether any included utilities are being fairly priced.

Utility costs landlords may cover

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to ask the apartment manager for details about utility costs before you sign the lease. Find out what the landlord is responsible for and what you’re responsible for. Be sure to get this written down in the lease if you decide to rent the apartment.

In the apartment listing, you may see a short blurb about what landlords cover.

Some utility costs covered by your landlord may include:

  • Water: Landlords usually cover the cost of water each month. The national average cost of water per unit is around $40 per month.
  • Garbage: The average cost of residential trash collection is between $12 to $20 per month, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association
  • Electric stove: In older units, landlords may cover the cost of an electric stove

Landlords usually won’t cover the cost of electricity, so be prepared to pay for this.

When will I pay for utilities?

Utility bills will all come separately, with gas and electricity coming in one bill, internet and cable in another, and water in yet another. Track all your utility costs and make on-time payments every month to avoid late fees. Each utility provider has a billing cycle with different due dates. Some providers will bill you each month, every other month, or every several months based on your plan or package.

Aren’t Landlords Required to Pay For Heat and Hot Water?

A common misconception among many renters is that landlords are required to pay for heat and hot water. The reality is that in many cities and states, there is a warranty of habitability that requires landlords to provide access to heat and hot water, but that doesn’t mean they’re required to pay the utility bills. In most cases, tenants will cover the heating bill, while either the tenant or the landlord may be responsible for the water bill. 

What Is the Average Gas Bill?

When it comes to gas costs, southern states see so

When it comes to gas costs, southern states see some of the lowest prices, followed by the West Coast — due to both low monthly consumption and moderate prices. The lowest averages are found in Florida with a $38 average gas bill; Arizona with $46; and Louisiana with $47. In Idaho, Nevada, California and New Mexico, the average gas bill is less than $60. And, while most people use gas for heating their homes and cooking, average amounts may differ because the provider or local administrator could include additional fixed charges or taxes on the bill.

For instance, the average gas bill for a one-bedroom apartment will be around $46 per month during the cold season if your gas-fueled appliances are highly efficient. But, remember that weather is also an important variable and low temperatures during winter will significantly increase the heating bill. Consequently, the average gas bill for a three-bedroom apartment with a high-efficiency furnace and/or water heater can reach slightly more than $61. But, if you have low- to average-efficiency appliances, expect to pay more than $70 for a three-bedroom rental.

Landlord’s Failure to Pay Utilities

If your landlord agrees to pay your utilities but fails to do so, you may be able to have the account for the service put in your name. The California Public Utilities Commission requires providers of metered services, such as gas, water and electricity, to notify tenants before terminating utilities because of the landlord’s nonpayment. You can contact the service provider directly in response to a termination notice and request the account for your apartment be put in your name. The service provider must comply with your request if it is practical to do so. You are not required to pay any delinquent charges that are the landlord’s responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for unpaid water bills?

The landlord can ultimately be held responsible for unpaid water bills for rental units in California. Unlike other utilities like electric and gas, the water company is often a city-owned operation, and thus may come after the property owner for unpaid dues when a tenant has moved on.

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