What Bills Do You Pay When Renting?

By Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, MBA, AFC®
Published on: 01/30/2023

Whether you’re a first-time renter or just moving to a new place, you want to know what bills to factor into your cost of living. Multiple services and monthly utility bills typically add to your financial responsibilities each month in addition to your basic rent.

In fact, over 90% of renters pay extra for one or more utilities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.[1] Depending on your rental agreement, you may pay the utility companies directly or the property owner may factor these costs into your rent payments.

This post details common bills that may come with renting a house or apartment so that you know how much to budget beyond your monthly rent.

Common rental bills for apartments and houses

While your exact bills depend on your specific circumstances, renters can typically expect to pay for common utilities such as electricity and gas, water and sewage, and trash disposal and recycling. Not all bills apply to all tenants, of course. If you don’t have pets, for example, you won’t have a pet fee.

Your average utility bills may vary based on circumstances as well. Not only can rates differ by location and time of year, but also you may not have a separate gas bill if your apartment complex uses electricity only or if your landlord includes all utilities in the rental cost.

Size and energy efficiency matters as well. When you rent a house — especially a larger one — you may have to pay more in utility costs than you would for an apartment, and the ability of your rental to maintain its temperature and whether you have energy-efficient appliances can impact your bills.

Below, we break down the common rental bills for apartments and houses, as well as their average costs.

average monthly cost of bills

Rental cost

The monthly cost to rent an apartment or a house depends on multiple factors that work together to create a price, including the following:

  • Size: If all other factors are the same (location, age, amenities and utilities), a four-bedroom house usually costs more to rent than a two-bedroom townhome, which in turn generally costs more than a studio apartment. However, size is only one of many factors. If, for example, the two-bedroom townhome is brand new with access to a pool but the house is 30 years old with barely any yard, you may pay more for the townhome.
  • Location: Rental prices vary greatly by state, city and neighborhood. You may have to pay more to live in what locals consider a desirable neighborhood, which may include a school district that scores well, convenient public transportation, proximity to certain attractions or activities and low crime rates.
  • Age: New apartments and homes may cost more than older rental properties.
  • Amenities: Houses or apartment complexes with attractive amenities such as pools, gyms, clubhouses and garages or carports may cost more to rent.
  • Utilities: Some landlords roll the cost of utilities like water and trash into the rental price. Check your lease agreement carefully to see what costs are included in your rent and which you’ll have to pay separately so you can determine the overall cost.

These factors don’t work independently of each other. Just because an apartment is new doesn’t mean it will cost less if it’s smaller or has fewer amenities than other apartments in the same neighborhood or if it’s located in a less desirable area.

Average rental prices depend significantly on the city and state in which you live. The following statistics show the range of typical rental costs in the United States:

  • Average monthly apartment rent in the U.S. in 2022
    • $1,324
  • Lower end (North Dakota 2022)
    • $831 per month
  • Higher end (Hawaii 2022)
    • $2,312 per month


Electricity and gas

The cost of electricity and/or gas depends on a variety of factors, some within your control (such as the temperature you set your thermostat to) and others less so (such as the efficiency of your rental unit’s appliances). You can estimate your monthly energy bills by considering the following factors:

  • How frequently you use gas or electricity: If you live in Arizona, you will likely run the A/C all summer long, but you may not need to use the heat often in the winter. If you have a large family, you may have to factor in higher water heater usage for more showers and loads of laundry. Remote workers will likely use more electricity than if your home sits empty during the day.
  • Which appliances you have: Find out whether your rental unit’s appliances run on gas or electricity. Many apartments and houses use a combination, such as gas for hot water and electricity for heating and cooling.
  • The efficiency of your appliances: Newer rental properties and those with upgraded energy-efficient appliances may have lower energy bills than houses and apartments with old appliances.
  • Whether your monthly rent includes energy costs: While less common than rolling your water bill into your rental cost, landlords may include electricity or gas in your monthly rent. It makes sense to ask which utilities are included and which ones aren’t to estimate your monthly rental costs.

To estimate your energy charges, consider the following average monthly electricity bills in the United States from 2021 according to date from the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Average monthly cost of electricity in the U.S.
    • $121.01
  • Lower end (Utah)
    • $80.87
  • Higher end (Hawaii)
    • $177.78


Water and sewage

Unless your rent includes water charges, you will likely have to pay based on how much water you use. Water utility providers often charge by centum cubic feet (CCF) or gallons (1 CCF equals 748 gallons). On average, Americans use around 88 gallons of water per day per person in the household. This translates to 2,640 gallons (or 3.5 CCF) every month (30 days).[4] Water bills often include sewer charges as well, but they may be listed as a separate line item.[5]

The following factors influence your water and sewage bill:

  • Water usage: How often you bathe, wash dishes, do laundry, flush the toilet, and water plants or lawns each day determines how much water you use.
  • Appliances used: Baths generally use less water than showers [6], full loads in energy-efficient dishwashers use less water than hand-washing in the sink [7], and modern washing machines use less water than outdated, inefficient models [8].
  • Age of appliances: Newer, high-efficiency appliances tend to use less water (and electricity) than older equipment.

While water costs in the U.S vary greatly depending on a host of factors, the following statistics from Statista show the average monthly water prices as of July 2022:

  • Average monthly cost of water
    • $41.52
  • Lower end
    • $20
  • Higher end
    • $105


Internet and cable

Most Americans use the internet, but typically tenants pay for internet and cable separately from their rental costs. While landlords rarely include the service in the rent, they may have an agreement with local providers to make charges less expensive. For instance, an apartment complex might offer a discounted deal with a specific provider so that tenants automatically sign up with that company.

While you may consider having the internet and cable at home a necessity (especially if your family works or studies remotely), you can cut costs by eliminating an internet bill if you feel comfortable only accessing it from work, school, or your mobile devices. Although cable may be bundled to your internet bill, you may be able to reduce this cost as well if you need to lower your monthly expenses. Consider canceling cable and signing up for a cheaper streaming service instead, such as Netflix or HBO.

Internet and cable prices depend greatly on several factors — location, local market competition, standalone versus bundled options, and so on — but the numbers below will help you get an idea of typical costs as of Q1 of 2021:

  • Internet average monthly cost in the U.S.
    • $64
  • Bundled mobile and home internet services average monthly cost
    • $128


Trash disposal and recycling

Trash disposal services vary by apartment complex, residential neighborhood, city, and state. Some rental companies provide dumpsters and take care of arranging trash and recycling pickup for tenants. Others offer valet waste removal where you pay a monthly fee to have your trash picked up at your front door on certain days of the week. For homes, recycling and trash often cost a monthly fee as well. Landlords sometimes will roll this into the total cost of rent.

Make sure you verify waste removal details in your lease or with your property manager, as agreements may require certain types of containers, limit the number of bags you can set out, or prohibit certain kinds of trash. Whether the homeowner or rental company is required to provide waste receptacles or arrange for collection varies by state and landlord.

Renter’s insurance

To protect themselves from legal liability, landlords may require that renters carry insurance in case a fire, theft, flood, or other event damages property. Renter’s insurance prices vary by the state you live in, how much coverage you need, and the deductible amount you choose. For example, it will likely cost more for $50,000 worth of coverage and a $500 deductible than it would for $15,000 worth of coverage and a $1,500 deductible.[11]

Fortunately, renter’s insurance won’t likely use much of your monthly budget, as the following averages from October 2022 show:

  • Average monthly cost of renters insurance in the U.S.
    • $18
  • Lower end (Maine)
    • $12
  • Higher end (Louisiana)
    • $34


Pet rent or fee

If you plan to have a pet at your property, you may incur extra rental charges. Pet costs can include monthly pet rent amount, one-time pet fees (where you pay an upfront, nonrefundable charge), and pet deposits (where you put down money that you may get back at the end of your lease, provided that your pet doesn’t damage the property). Some states limit the amount a landlord can charge for various pet rental costs. However, landlords cannot charge extra for service animals because they do not count as pets under fair housing laws.

Pet rental costs vary, but the following ranges will help you get an idea of how much you can expect to pay if you have a pet:

  • Pet deposit ranges (one-time charge)
    • $200 to $500
  • Low end pet rent per month
    • $25
  • High end pet rent per month
    • $100


Yard upkeep

Landlords may charge you separately for yard maintenance and lawn care, roll it into the cost of the rental, or expect you to do it yourself. Both homes and apartments with yards may require lawn mowing, landscaping, trimming shrubs, removing dead plants, mulching, snow removal, and more. Landlords may provide you with equipment such as a lawn mower if they expect you to maintain the yard yourself, but if not, you may need to buy a mower or contract a company to perform the service for you. In either case, make sure to consider this cost when deciding on a rental property.

  • Landscaping maintenance service average cost per month
    • Lower end
      • $100
    • Higher end
      • $200
  • Costs of mowing if you do it yourself
    • $372 average cost to buy a gas self-propelled mower.[14] You’ll also need to account for the cost of gas, maintenance and any repairs.


Apartment amenity rental bills

Apartment amenities refer to a variety of non-essential features that make a rental more attractive to tenants. Apartment complexes typically incorporate such amenities in the rental cost, but others may charge a fee to use certain services.

Extra amenities may include:

  • Pools and hot tubs
  • Fitness centers
  • Parking spaces
  • Storage

Landlords may apply a one-time fee to use these facilities for the duration of your lease, charge recurring monthly payments or include some amenities in the lease (use of the pool) but charge extra for others (clubhouse event rental).

Apartment amenities can help offset other costs — a gym at your apartment complex could enable you to cancel your fitness club membership, or an on-site storage facility could eliminate the need to rent a separate storage unit. Since some amenities cost extra, however, make sure to understand what’s included in rent and what incurs an extra fee before signing a lease agreement.

amount of income to spend on rent

How much should you pay for rent?

Smart financial management involves knowing how much to spend on rent before selecting your next apartment or home rental. Everyone’s situation is unique and how much you should spend largely depends on how much you can spend after factoring in other bills you need to pay each month. However, as a general rule, look to spend 30% or less of your monthly gross income on rent.

To calculate the maximum amount you should spend, take your gross monthly income (your pay before taxes and other deductions) and multiply it by .30.

If you make $40,000 a year, for example, your gross income totals about $3,333 a month. When you multiply $3,333 by .30, you get around $1,000 as your maximum monthly amount for rent and utilities. Use your calculation as a starting point when factoring your budget for rent, and do this before looking for a new rental unit.

Once you choose an apartment or home to rent, you might like to know that paying rent may even help your credit score if you pay with a credit score or use a third-party app or service to have your positive rental history reported to the credit bureaus.


  1. United States Census Bureau. “2021 American Community Survey: Inclusion of Utilities in Rent.” https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table. Accessed on September 26, 2022.
  2. Statista. “Average monthly apartment rent in the United States from 2020 to 2022, by state.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/1219332/average-apartment-rent-usa-by-state. Accessed on September 26, 2022.
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration. “2020 Average Monthly Bill- Residential.” https://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/pdf/table5_a.pdf. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Understanding Your Water Bill.” https://www.epa.gov/watersense/understanding-your-water-bill. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  5. Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati. “Your Sewer Bill.” https://www.msdgc.org/Customers/sewer_rate_and_bill_pay/index.html. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  6. Southwest Florida Water Management District. “Water Use Calculator,” https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/conservation/water-use-calculator. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  7. EnergyStar.gov. “DIshwashers,” https://www.energystar.gov/products/dishwashers. Accessed January 12, 2023.
  8. Sustainability Nook. “Is Handwashing Clothes Better for the Environment Than Using a Washing Machine?” https://sustainabilitynook.com/handwashing-clothes-vs-using-washing-machine/. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  9. Statista. “Average monthly water prices in the United States as of July 2022, by selected state,” https://www.statista.com/statistics/1244458/monthly-water-prices-in-the-united-states-by-state/. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  10. Cision PR Newswire. “Parks Associates: As of Q1 2021, 41% of US Broadband Households Have Standalone Broadband Service, Paying an Average of $64 Per Month,” https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/parks-associates-as-of-q1-2021-41-of-us-broadband-households-have-standalone-broadband-service-paying-an-average-of-64-per-month-301313691.html. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  11. State Farm. “How much is renters insurance?” https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/home-and-property/renters/cost-factors. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  12. ValuePenguin. “Average Cost of Renters Insurance (2022),” https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-renters-insurance. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  13. Zillow. “Pet Rent vs. Pet Deposits and Fees,” https://www.zillow.com/rental-manager/resources/pet-rent-and-pet-fees/. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  14. HomeGuide. “How Much Does Landscaping Maintenance Cost?” https://homeguide.com/costs/average-cost-of-landscaping-maintenance. Accessed on September 27, 2022.
  15. ApartmentList. “What are Apartment Amenities? 8 Must-Have Amenities,” https://www.apartmentlist.com/renter-life/apartment-amenities. Accessed on September 27, 2022.

About the author

Ana Gonzalez-Ribeiro, MBA, AFC® is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and a Bilingual Personal Finance Writer and Educator dedicated to helping populations that need financial literacy and counseling. Her informative articles have been published in various news outlets and websites including Huffington Post, Fidelity, Fox Business News, MSN and Yahoo Finance. She also founded the personal financial and motivational site www.AcetheJourney.com and translated into Spanish the book, Financial Advice for Blue Collar America by Kathryn B. Hauer, CFP. Ana teaches Spanish or English personal finance courses on behalf of the W!SE (Working In Support of Education) program has taught workshops for nonprofits in NYC.

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Written on January 30, 2023
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