As a first-time renter, you probably have a lot on your mind – the moving process can get pretty complicated, pretty quickly. It’s common for people to focus on the fun, exciting details, such as choosing decor and planning your first get-together in your new space. But even though tasks like setting up utilities might not be quite as enjoyable, they are essential.
Today, we’re walking you through the process of how to set up utilities when renting a rental home for the first time, answering many of the most frequently asked questions about this stage of the move-in process.
Which utilities will I need to set up as a first-time renter?
In terms of which utilities are the renter’s responsibility, it largely depends on your lease terms, the type of rental, and the location.
Certain communities advertise utilities as included as part of the monthly rent, an option that comes with its pros and cons (more on that later). But for most rentals, set-up and payment are up to you.
Renting utilities you can generally expect to set up and pay for include:
- Trash collection
Cable television may also be on the list depending on the community and your preferences. However, with more and more people opting for streaming entertainment vs. cable, it’s not necessarily a given.
Your lease agreement will state which responsibilities you are responsible for and whether or not there are preferred providers for utilities.
How much does it cost to turn on utilities for the first time?
As a first-time renter, you may have to pay certain set-up fees for your utilities.
For example, many internet and cable companies charge an upfront installation cost or tack on an added charge on your first bill. It is also common for utility companies, such as your electricity provider, to charge a start-up fee for first-time customers. For the company, this fee can serve as “insurance” if the customer fails to pay their bill.
Are utilities included in my rent?
The simplest way to determine if utilities are included in monthly rental costs for your residence is to ask the landlord or property management company.
Sometimes, the rent is a “package” that includes certain utilities or amenities. For other rentals, you will pay each utility bill separately.
There are benefits and drawbacks to utilities included in rent.
Pros of Having Utilities Included
- You can freely use appliances/amenities without incurring extra costs
- You can usually avoid activation/connection fees
- One monthly payment can cover multiple services
Cons of Having Utilities Included
- You can end up paying more than you would otherwise
- Your total rent cost will usually be higher
- Your landlord/property manager may place limitations on heating or cooling settings
- It is more difficult to build credit and payment history
How do I set up utilities as a first-time renter?
Your lease agreement will precisely detail which utilities you need to set up and any preferred providers. Depending on your location, it is likely that you will be served by specific providers. For example, your water/sewer utility provider is often a city or town department.
Here are some simple steps to set up utilities as a renter:
- Ask your property manager or landlord. After reviewing your lease agreement, you can talk to your property manager/landlord if you still have questions. You may want to ask if any specific requirements or instructions are essential for utility set-up.
- Make sure you have all the necessary information to plan for a stress-free transition into your new home. For example, the water may already be turned on when it is move-in day. Or, you might need to schedule Internet installation ahead of time.
- Research your options. If there are different utility providers in your area, spend a little time researching each one. Ideally, you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs and budget. When you contact providers, don’t forget to ask if there are any promotions or discounts available for new customers.
- Set up an account with each utility provider. Once you have a list of your utility providers, go through the process of opening an account with each one. Depending on the provider, you may be able to complete this online, or you might need to call and speak with a customer service representative. Be prepared with your payment information so that you can set up billing.
How much do utilities cost?
The cost of monthly utility bills will depend on:
- The size of your residence
- Use of utilities
- Number of people in the home
- Property age/energy efficiency
- Seasonal changes
It can be helpful to plan your budget using a range of utility costs. Research what you can expect at the “high end” so you are adequately prepared.
When will I pay for utilities?
Each utility provider will have a specific billing cycle, and each cycle will have a payment due date. It is most common to pay for utilities on a monthly basis, but you might pay every other month or once every few months for certain services.
Find Your Perfect Rental in a Wan Bridge Community
Before you start thinking about paying for utilities, you’ll need to find a great place to rent – and if you’re searching for homes for rent in Houston, Dallas, or Austin, a Wan Bridge community is where you’ll want to be.
Our build-to-rent communities have rental homes that are built explicitly with the needs and wants of tenants in mind, offering an upscale, modern residence in communities with plenty of amenities. Located in highly desirable areas across Texas and created for convenience and comfort, Wan Bridge’s Texas rental homes are an ideal option for singles, couples, families, and retirees alike.
Contact our team today for more information about how to plan for your first rental.
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