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

2050 Jamieson Ave #1303

Stunningly beautiful, luxury studio in a boutique condo above the Westin Hotel. Enjoy wood floors, gourmet kitchen (granite, SS appliances, dual sink, breakfast bar), large windows for lots of light, & open floorplan. FULLY FURNISHED w/murphy bed, functional furniture that adds extra storage. Gym, room service & Maid Service offered for a fee. Walk to Metro, shops, restaurants, etc Incl: 1 garage[$1,850 - Alexandria, VA 22314]

6612f Jupiter Hills Cir #F

Pinecrest Golf Course Community. Wood burning fireplace, Full size W&D. large balcony overlooking pond and fountain, energy efficient windows, private entrance, easy commute to all points, 2 bedrooms 2 full baths, 2 parking spaces assigned with visitor parking, pool, community center, walking trails, low utility fee energy efficient heat pump, large open flow floorplan, closet built-ins,Must see[$1,800 - Alexandria, VA 22312]

1100 Quaker Hill Dr #125

Large 2BR, 2BA condo in great Old Town location! Wall-to-wall neutral carpet, cozy fireplace in living room, large master suite, and washer/dryer in unit. Use of community pool, parking, and water/sewer included in rent. A couple of blocks to Alexandria Commons shopping center and less than a mile to King St. metro! Sentrilock LB on unit door -- please call tenants to schedule.[$1,825 - Alexandria, VA 22314]

1413 Oronoco St #1413

$2400 concession for quick move in.Fabulous patio level condo home in ULTRA CONVENIENT COLECROFT. 2 MSTR BR's each w/ own full bath. Fully equipped kitchen w/ granite & SS. Wood look vinyl plan flooring. Fenced patio ok for BBQ! THISCLOSE to Braddock Metro & all the cool stuff!. Parking for 1 + tons of street. Pets CBC ( weight, breed, # restricted) w/$100 monthly fee. Min inc - $79200. HURRY![$2,200 - 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.