Leasing FAQs

How much do utilities usually cost?

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2017 09:48AM CDT
Here are some general rules of thumb, but please remember that utility costs depend on a number of factors and there’s no exact formula:
  • Electricity: $50 per bedroom per month (for a one bedroom unit, electricity might be above the $50 figure). Austin Energy will not disclose historical electric bills for properties, and property managers often can't tell you either because the bills usually go straight to the tenants, so it can be helpful to ask current tenants what they have been paying for electricity. Remember to also budget for the Austin Energy deposit of $200 (this may be waived if you have an active utility account, or one closed within the past 30 days, with no late payments in the past year). Finally, you might want to elect the FRAU status with Austin Energy so all roommates are legally responsible. 
  • Water: $15 to $25 per person per month
  • Internet: $30 to $40+ a month (optional)
  • Cable: $20 to $70+ a month (optional)
  • Gas (not all properties have gas, but some do for the central heating, water heating, and/or cooking): Gas bills typically peak in the winter; it’s best to just call the Texas Gas Service (1-800-700-2443) because they can provide historical averages, highs, and lows for the gas bills for any given Austin address, as far back as three years.
  • Trash & Recycling: $10 to $15 a month (depending on the property, you may not have to pay for trash)

Utility bills can vary widely based on many different things, such as:
  • Location of the unit: If renting an apartment, units on the top floor level will have the highest utility bills because it takes more energy to heat and cool the top floor. Units on middle floor levels will typically have lower utility bills, since they are better insulated with units above and below. The advantage of living on the top floor level, though, is less noise (nobody living in a unit above).
  • Property type: Your electric bill at an apartment or condominium complex is likely to be lower than at a detached house, because you are somewhat insulated by the surrounding units at a complex.
  • Energy efficiency of the appliances and electronics used: Newer appliances use less energy than older appliances, and Energy Star rated appliances use less than other models on the market.
  • Height of ceilings
  • Construction materials used
  • How you set the thermostat: Try setting your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter and adjust the settings to meet your needs from there. 
  • Presence of gas: A unit that has both gas and electricity should have lower utility costs than an identical property that is all electric.
  • Your consistency in changing the air filters: A clean air filter helps the HVAC system operate efficiently, while also ensuring the air is healthy to breathe. Filters should be changed every one to three months, depending on the filter's rating. Some property managers routinely change tenants' filters free of charge, while others make the tenants responsible for changing the filters.
  • Usage of blinds and curtains: You can use them to keep the heat out when it's hot outside and let the heat in when it's cold.
  • Light bulbs: Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, energy efficient light bulbs such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) typically use about 25% to 80% less energy and can last 3 to 25 times longer. Also, remember to turn lights off when they are not in use.
  • Water allocation: If your water bill is allocated instead of sub-metered, and your property has a swimming pool, your allocated bill may cover some of the community’s swimming pool water
  • Orientation of the unit: Typically, an apartment facing north or south will use less electricity than a unit facing east or west, because it will not be as affected by the powerful afternoon sun. Some property managers install solar screens on windows, especially windows facing west, to mitigate the effects of the sun.
  • Number of roommates: A 2 bed, 2 bath unit with two roommates would be expected to consume less electricity and water than an identical 2 bed, 2 bath unit with four roommates.

And then of course, some properties include one or more utilities in the rent already. To find out which property is the best value for you, after factoring in rent and utilities, please get in touch with us

UT Apartment Utilities Expenses


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