There is no simple answer to the question of what is included in the rent. This is because the answer will likely vary from one apartment complex to the next. Some apartment complexes may include a variety of items within their rent while others may charge renters additional fees as needed and still others may require the renters to register directly with individual public utilities and handle these expenses on their own.

Likewise some apartment complexes may include additional features with the price of the rent while others may charge additional fees for these features. A pool, exercise room, meeting room or theater are just a few examples which may be offered by an apartment complex. In most cases the use of these amenities are included in the price of the rent but there are exceptions where the renter is charged an additional fee for the privilege of using these amenities.

Consider the Price of Utilities

When considering the price or a rental property, the renter should first determine whether or not utilities are included in the cost of the rent. This is significant because depending on the size of the property and the climate of the area, heating and cooling costs can be rather expensive. In most cases, the renter is responsible for the cost of their own utilities and their apartment is individually monitored for usage and the renter is billed monthly by the utility company. However, in the case of an individual renting an apartment in a private home as opposed to an apartment complex, the homeowner may collect money for utility uses in another way. Depending on the agreement between the homeowner and the renter the monthly rent may be set at a rate which includes a contribution to the utility costs or the renter may be assessed a pre-determined percentage of each utility bill on a monthly basis.

It is important to consider the price of utilities when they are not included in the rent because failure to do so can lead to unpleasant surprises in the future. For example a renter in a particularly cold climate may rent a spacious apartment for a great rate only to find out later that the cost of heating the apartment makes it difficult for the renter to afford to live in the apartment.

Consider Amenities which are “Free”

When renters are selecting an apartment, they should consider the amenities which are “free” as opposed to the amenities for which the renter is charged an additional fee. The word free is used in quotations in the heading of this section to indicate these amenities do not always come without a price. A renter may not pay a usage fee for some amenities but it is very likely the privilege of using these amenities is factored into the monthly rent.

As an example consider two 800 square foot apartments in the same geographical area. Each apartment may have a similar layout and comparable square footage but the monthly rents associated with these two apartments might be quite different. In examining the amenities you might notice the higher prices apartment has access to a pool, an exercise room and a theater all for the use of residents while the lower priced apartment offers no such amenities. In this case the residents of the more expensive apartments are actually paying a higher monthly rent as a result of the amenities offered.

In a case such as the example above, renters should weight their options carefully. If they can afford to pay the more expensive rent, they should carefully consider whether or not they wish to pay a higher fee for use of the amenities. A renter who doesn’t like to swim, belongs to a gym and does not have a great deal of free time to watch movies may decide they would be better off selecting the lower priced apartment without amenities.

Rentals in Alexandria

1111 Oronoco St #330

Lg 2BR/2BA + Den w/ window in The Henry! 1 garage parking spaces + 2 storage units included. High-end finishes throughout: granite kitchen & baths, GE Profile stainless steel appliances, wide-plank floors throughout, etc. Full service building offers 7-day/week front desk, gym, party room w/ theater, multiple roof decks, landscaped courtyard. Just a couple blocks to Metro & King St. Free Trolley![$3,295 - Alexandria, VA 22314]

715 Washington St #C-13

GORGEOUS! Remodeled 1st floor 1BR unit w/9' ceilings & hardwood floors has BRAND NEW KITCHEN! Granite counters, new textured composite tiles, new stainless steel appliances, new kitchen track lighting plus room for table & chairs. BA remodeled w/ ceramic tile. New bath vanity & extra large brushed stainless medicine cabinet. Comes w/parking pass & separate storage unit. Only a mile frm the metro![$1,450 - Alexandria, VA 22314]

6072a Essex House Sq

Every inch of this condo has been redone/updated- new flooring, paint, kitchen and baths. Lovely 2BR/2BA condo in coveted Kingstowne area. Kitchen with granite countertops &new SS refrig,new stove, microwave and garbage disposal. Wood burning fireplace, two large walk-in closets. Two community pools, tennis, gym. Minutes to shopping/dining, movie theaters, Springfield town center. $60 app fee.[$1,950 - Alexandria, VA 22310]

423 Earl St

Spacious, Newly Updated Townhome on a Quiet Street Yet Close to All of the Charm of Old Town. NEW Windows, Ice-cold A/C, W/D, Fridge, Dishwasher, Disposal, Blinds/Drapes, Storm Door. Completely Renovated Full Bath, Refinished H/W Floors, Open Kitchen. One Off-Street Space and Plenty of Street Parking. Walk to Braddock Rd or King St Metro's! Close to RT1/495/GW Pkwy. A MUST SEE!!![$3,100 - Alexandria, VA 22314]

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Stuart Nesbitt

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Stuart Nesbitt is a Realtor® licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His office is located in Fairfax County near the City of Alexandria in Belle Haven. He was born and raised in Northern Virginia and attended Fairfax County schools. Call him at any time to discuss your real estate needs.