Hidden fees of renting an apartment
By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch)—The cost of renting an apartment has risen in recent years and as demand has gone up for rentals, shopping for the perfect home has gotten more competitive in many markets.
But while shoppers tend to compare rent prices when looking at properties, they shouldn’t lose sight of what the rental will cost them in total—including any “hidden costs” not included in the base rent.
They add up.
Plus, in a competitive market, some landlords may be able to increase some of these fees. A new apartment building in Chicago, for example, has higher application fees, administrative fees and pet fees than other similar buildings, said Bryan Pritchard, managing broker for Tricap Preferred, a free apartment locator service in downtown Chicago.
To be fair, these aren’t really hidden fees, said Paul Bergeron, director of communications at the National Apartment Association. Fees are required to be included in the lease, and in many apartment buildings incoming residents will often have a “sit-down” review of a lease before they sign it, he said.
Of course, in a tough housing market, more condo and single-family homeowners are also renting out their properties. And they don’t always have the experience of a professional company, which may have a process for explaining charges and fees before you sign on the dotted line.
So as a renter—no matter who your future landlord may be—your best bet is to ask questions about fees that could pop up.