Apartment Living Fees and Fines

by : The Apartment Dude

Fees will range depending on the rules set by a particular community, but as a general rule you will find the following fees in place at most apartment communities. Be sure and keep yourself a handy copy of your lease agreement as that little packet of paper should contain information on all the fees that you may have to watch out for. We, at Apartment Home Living.com, have put together a list of the most commonly seen fees and fines to put you in the know of where your money may go.

1) Application fee- On some properties it's low, some it's higher. Some even waive this fee as a move-in special, so be sure to ask. This is a one-time fee when you apply for an apartment, but still a fee none the less.

2) Deposit- This isn't technically a fee, but is still a cost to factor in when moving to a new place. In most cases deposits go up proportionally by the size of the apartment, but the amount determined for the deposit ranges from community to community. If you are looking to save some cash in this area be sure to shop around at different places and find out what the deposits are. If you are lucky, you might even find a $0 deposit special and not have to pay a dime here.

3) Pet Fee/Deposit- Chico may have only been $20 from the Wal-Mart parking lot when you picked him out of that litter of tiny barking black and brown muzzles, but he may set you back $200, $500, or even $750 for a pet fee/deposit. Sometimes you will even find that you may have to pay a monthly pet rent to keep little Chico at your apartment. A pet fee or pet rent is usually non-refundable, while if only a pet deposit is required you may have a chance of re-cooping that money as long as Chico doesn't do any damage to the apartment. Usually the cost of cleaning the carpet will more than likely be taken out of the pet deposit however.

In terms of fees or rent pets are sometimes negotiable. There may be factors that help influence the cost related to your little mongrel. If Chico's a cat, De-clawing may give you a lower rate. A lot of communities are more flexible on their rules regarding cats. Make sure and ask lots of questions and weigh the options.

4) Late Fees- Invest in some sticky notes to remind you to pay your rent on time. Unfortunately, there are generally hefty fines accessed every time your rent is late after a certain period of time as defined by your lease. It can go up to $50 a day in some cases, with usually a maximum amount at some point (right before you're evicted). So it's very important to get that rent in on time.

5) Garbage, Patio Fees- You should try to always keep trash from sitting by your door or on your porch. Many communities access fees for unkempt property, including trashy doorsteps and patios. Saving a little spending money and getting a little exercise is definitely worth the extra steps to the dumpster.

If your community offers a trash pick-up service, make sure to only leave trash outside of your door on the designated days. Putting it out on the wrong day may end up in a fine.

6) Feces Fine- Walking the dog around the community's courtyard, make sure to pick up after the dog. It's much better to bag now than beg later.

7) Parking Fee- Most apartment communities include free parking stickers, but occasionally some do have fees to obtain one.

8) Key/Lock Replacement Fee- It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. We lose our keys. Most apartments will access a fee to replace a lost or stolen key as well as an additional fee to change the door lock for your safety.

9) Noise Violations/ Fines- Having a bunch of parties? If the neighbors complain about the noise to the police, you may be looking at a hefty noise violation ticket. The apartments may also have a fine or other type of corrective action for noise pollution. It's important to have a lot of fun, but try to keep the noise down a little.

10) Redecorating Fee- After you move out, if the apartment isn't left in the exact condition it was when you moved in there will more than likely be a redecorating fee. Usually this is deducted from your initial deposit return amount and covers and repainting, carpet cleaning, general apartment cleaning, etc that needs to be done after you leave. If you extensively damage the apartment while living there, you may be looking at charges that exceed the deposit amount. The best advice is to clean like your mama would approve before you move out.

While these seem the most common fees and fines found amongst the growing number of apartment communities, there may be additional ones to be aware of. Make sure to look over the lease well and discuss any concerns with the leasing agent before you sign it. The best way to avoid fees is to know about them first.

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