A utility-included apartment essentially means you (the resident) pay one single bill to the landlord for rent and utilities.
Does ‘apartments with utilities’ included mean it is cheaper because it is — “included”.
No, not neccesarily.
Someone always has to pay for the utilities, in traditional apartment housing in the U.S., it is just a question of whether you are paying the utility company or the landlord.
Let’s dive deeper into this, and some of the pros and cons of utility-included apartments.
What are Apartment Utilities?
Apartment utilities typically mean water, sewer, electricity, and gas (if available).
In some instances, you may see a listing as “apartment with utilities included,” which essentially means that the apartment price should include virtually all of the main utilities.
You’ll still want to confirm what is and is not included. Ask about internet and trash too as these might not be considered “main utilities” and may not be included.
Is it Cheaper When Apartment Utilities Are Included?
There is a common misconception that apartments “with utilities included” are cheaper. This is not necessarily true. You need to pay for utilities one way or the other, so it is a matter of paying the utility company or the apartment complex. That being said, you should understand who you are paying and the approximate costs. So you should ask:
- What apartment utilities are included and how much?
- What utilities am I responsible for paying for?
- What about trash?
- What about internet service? (this is usually separate)
What are the Benefits of Having Apartment Utilities Included?
While it may not be cheaper, some potental benefits of having a utilities-included apartment:
- Don’t need to set up accounts with different service providers (less work)
- Pay one bill (simpler)
- Know what paying each month (good for budgeting).
Which Utilities are Included?
Which utilities are included will depend on your apartment complex.
Some may include just electricity, while others may include electricity and water, etc.
Some may not include any utilities.
For this reason, it is important to check your lease agreement to find out exactly what is included and what isn’t.
You can search for “apartment with utilities included,” but make sure you don’t necessarily exclude apartments without utilities included…because it may not be more expensive.
Advanced Bonus Content:
How Do I Compare Prices of Apartments then?
Now, this is a little more advanced of a topic. And requires time. But if you really want to compare apartment prices, you need to “back out” or “subtract” the sum of the utilities from the monthly rent to get a true base rent.
Then compare, base rent to base rent (apples to apples comparison). See this article for detailed way to compare apartment prices.