One of the many factors to consider when renting an apartment is the cost of your utilities. It can be difficult to gauge the monthly cost of utilities in a rental because they fluctuate for many reasons, including usage. With the rising costs in today’s economy it is always important to find ways to save money. Renting an apartment where utilities are included may sound especially appealing, but before you limit your search weigh the pros and cons so that you understand what it actually means to you as a renter.

When you lease a utilities included, or all bills paid, apartment you are agreeing to pay a monthly payment to your landlord that includes your rent plus a flat fee for basic utilities. Your landlord is responsible for paying the basic utility costs for your apartment directly to the local utility company. Heat, water, garbage, and electricity are often included, but every landlord will define basic utilities differently. It is important that you reference your lease agreement for a clear definition of which bills are covered.  
One of the most satisfying benefits to renting an all bills paid apartment is that there is only one monthly bill. You will pay the same amount for rent each month to your landlord, minus the multiple bills to several utility providers on different due dates. Budgeting your monthly housing expenses will also get a whole lot easier. Renting an apartment where utilities are included can also save you money in extra move-in fees. Not having the responsibility to connect services will eliminate paying any activation fees or additional deposits. It can also be beneficial to you if you have any unresolved issues with your local utility company or a poor credit history.

While renting a utilities included apartment can sound very appealing to a renter on a budget, there are also several disadvantages to consider. Traditionally it is the older apartment communities that offer the convenience of an all bills paid service. They also have become very scarce and therefore limited in inventory.  Making it is very difficult to locate availability in one based on a time sensitive move in date.

In major metropolitan areas like San Antonio, these types of properties are very rare.  Often times they are also not advertised. If you are looking for an all bills paid apartment, working with an experienced apartment finder at Apartments Now who is familiar with the apartment inventory in the area is your best option.

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