Renting a house poses a particular set of challenges. Houses require more maintenance than apartment units, and extra effort to furnish. Landlords sometimes throw in certain amenities with a home, such as lawn services, free utilities or kitchenware. Before you agree to rent a home, read your lease thoroughly to confirm that it states expressly what the landlord is providing with the house, and what fees the tenant is responsible for.
Utilities and Fees
People renting homes generally pay the monthly heat, water and gas bills. Before you move in, ask a landlord what the average utility bill runs every month so you're prepared. Typically, the landlord pays the property taxes, mortgage, and any annual homeowners association fees. Make sure that your lease clearly outlines which utilities and fees you're responsible for.
Some landlords will provide regular home and grounds maintenance, such as lawn mowing, raking and pest control. Others expect the tenant to take care of these responsibilities. Generally, the landlord will also pay for any repairs or upgrades that must be made to the home over the course of the lease. Your lease should clearly explain who is responsible for maintenance work and repairs.
Furnishing and Extras
Some homes come fully furnished. Other landlords will provide some basic furniture, but will expect tenants to supply items such as mattresses, beds and tables. Still other landlords may provide certain kitchen tools, including pots, pans and dishware, or house maintenance supplies, such as vacuums and tools. Generally, landlords will charge a rental premium of $300 to $600 a month for a fully furnished property.
Homeowners generally charge between 0.8 and 1.1 percent of their home value in rent each month. For instance, if the home is valued at $100,000, a homeowner will charge around $1,000 a month in rent. House landlords may raise or lower the monthly rent outside of those norms, depending on what they include in the rental. Use local rental listings to compare your monthly rent and what your landlord is including to similar rental properties in the neighborhood.
John Louis is an award-winning journalist based in Washington, D.C. He attended Columbia University, where he was editor-in-chief of the "Columbia Spectator." He is currently studying law at Georgetown University.