I am trying to rent an apartment. Some of the apartments I have looked at clearly advertise a low rent to attract tenants, but then tack on additional fees, thus raising the cost. I want to know what kind of "hidden fees" are most commonly encountered so I can watch out for them. So far, I have encountered

  • Application fee
  • Move-in fee
  • Renter's insurance
  • Utilities (excluding electricity)
  • Electricity

What other ones should I watch out for? Also, which of these are reasonable to charge versus clear attempts to just take my money?

  • This is going to vary A LOT by region.
    – quid
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 23:25
  • You are right. I never thought of that. I am considering US near a university. Does that help? Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 23:28
  • 1
    Different cities and states in the US may have various laws prohibiting or capping some fees. Some localities may prohibit a landlord from forcing you to purchase their renters insurance. I will say, it's not uncommon for utilities and electricity to be the occupant's responsibility.
    – quid
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 23:43
  • 1
    Poll-style questions aren't a good fit for Stack Exchange's questions. I suggest taking this to Community.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 23:50
  • Poll-style questions are not a bad fit for Stack Exchange's questions, it's just that some users don't like them and close them. Anyway I posted the question on Quora: quora.com/unanswered/… Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


I would not classify utilities (including electric) as additional fees. In many cases you interact directly with the utility (not the landlord) and pay for what you use. There are exceptions like when renting a room.

The renter's insurance also is not part of the landlord's profit, it is simply there to protect you. In the case of loss, the landlord cannot insure your property. You have to provide your own insurance. Its pretty low costs, typically less than 20 per month.

The application fee is typical.

The move in fee is something that could be negotiated away and sounds pretty sketchy.

You can always "let your fingers do the walking" and find out the fees before you look at the place.


Move in fees in my experience as a landlord (though I do not charge them) are to cover the costs of stuff like changing locks or having new/extra keys made. However, in Japan there is the idea of "key money" that is sort of the same concept as a security deposit, but typically much larger and not refundable.


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