A leasing agent going over the terms of a renter's contract, including fees and deposits.

Understanding Your Rental Fees and Deposits

January 24, 2023

Finances may not be the most fun aspect of the apartment hunt, but they are a necessary one.  As a renter – no matter who your future landlord may be – there are costs you are going to have to pay and requirements you are expected to know as a renter.  When searching for an apartment you probably have an amount in mind that you are willing to spend on your new home. Understanding and budgeting for the most common rental fees and deposits will help you successfully navigate through the financial waters of renting. Not sure what kind of financial planning you need to do for your next place? Check out our blog about credit history and overview of lease applications, as well as our top tips to give you your best chance at having your lease application approved.

The Application Fee

Once you find the right apartment, you will likely be asked to fill out an application. The APPLICATION FEE is a non-refundable fee, anywhere from $35-$100 per adult, that is used to cover the cost of checking your credit score, criminal background, and other administrative costs associated with the qualification process. Given that this fee is non-refundable, whether you are rejected or change your mind, you want to narrow down your apartment choices or work with a licensed apartment locator to save your money and prevent wasted application fees.

The Security Deposit

Just because your application is approved does not mean you are done. The SECURITY DEPOSIT must be paid in order for you to secure or hold an apartment. The deposit can cost you up to one month of rent, but is fully refundable as long as you keep the apartment as nice and clean as it was when you moved in. While not as common, renters are taking advantage of a new type of deposit instead of a security deposit, the Sure Deposit. When available, these can offer more financial flexibility for the renter.

Pet Fees and Deposits

The PET DEPOSIT and PET FEE are one-time costs that are required if you want your furry friend to live with you, permitting your landlord allows pets. The pet deposit is an upfront cost, usually around $200, in addition to the traditional security deposit. It is refundable after your lease expires, subject to the condition of your apartment and any damages. You will also pay for your landlord to register your pet with the apartment community in the form of a pet fee. Typically, this non-refundable fee does not cover any damages the pet may cause to the apartment, and is due before you move in with your furry roommate.

The PET RENT is not a standard cost, but it has become more and more common in rental communities. Pet rent usually ranges from $50-$100, and covers your pet’s stay in your apartment. Pet rent is separate from a pet deposit and is an additional cost added to your regular rent payment.

It is important that every renter take the time to read the fine print in your lease agreement for the terms and conditions of your rental fees and deposits, which may vary depending on your state.

Renting an apartment can be just as complicated as buying a house, but working with an apartment finder can help make the challenges of securing an apartment easier on you. They can help you determine all the upfront costs associated with renting so that you are prepared and do not find yourself draining your wallet. If you're interested in working with your own apartment locating expert and you are looking in the areas we serve, give us a call!

*A version of this article previously appeared on Angie's List.