Living off-campus can be very appealing to students at UT Austin. You can have your own bathrooms, cook for yourself, enjoy more flexibility, and sometimes even save money. However, it can be easy to get excited about the base rate that you see online and forget to account for all of the costs associated with renting an apartment.
At Rambler, our leasing team has helped hundreds of students find housing, and we understand that additional costs associated with student housing can come as a surprise.
In order to avoid this sticker shock and to help you understand additional costs and fees you might encounter when renting a student housing apartment, we have compiled a list of additional fees that students often encounter when living near UT Austin.
10 Additional Costs to Consider (Besides Rent) When Signing a Lease for Your Student Apartment in Austin, Texas
1. Application Fee
Most properties will require all prospective tenants to pay an application fee. While the price varies greatly by location, application fees in West Campus tend to range from $50 to $150. This fee generally covers the cost of your background check as well as the administrative cost of processing your application.
Be sure to budget for the price of the application fee in your housing expenses. If you would like to know the specific price, reach out to the apartment(s) you are interested in so that you can budget accordingly.
Sometimes, new student housing apartments will offer a discounted or waived fee as an incentive to sign a lease, so be on the lookout for these types of promotions.
For more information on the application process, feel free to reach out to the Rambler leasing team, who is happy to answer any questions you might have about your search for housing.
2. Admin Fee
Admin fees typically range between $50 to $300 and can be used to cover the price of administration, billing, bill auditing, overhead and similar expenses.
While some student housing apartments require this fee at the time of application, others won’t require it until your move-in day. Admin fees are typically non-refundable, but if your apartment does require an admin fee at the time of application, you should confirm that you will be reimbursed if you decide not to sign a lease.
We all know that parking in Austin, especially parking near campus, can be a hassle.
Most student housing apartment complexes in West Campus offer long-term parking contracts for the period of your lease. If there is no parking available at your apartment, or you’re looking elsewhere for more affordable parking, you can opt to sign a contract to park at a nearby garage. Contract parking options in West Campus vary greatly in price, from around $80 to $300 per month. Factors that affect the price of parking include location, demand, and type of parking garage. This fee is typically due at the beginning of each month.
If you’re looking for parking options, check out our list of garages in West Campus that offer contract parking.
4. Security Deposit
A security deposit is a refundable fee that is held by your apartment for the duration of your lease term. Security deposits typically range from $100 to the equivalent of one month’s rent.
Security deposits are typically due upon move-in and refundable at the end of your lease term so long as there are no damages to the apartment beyond typical wear.
After moving out, your landlord will take into account any damages to the apartment beyond normal wear and tear and evaluate the cost. Your landlord has the right to deduct the amount needed for repairs before returning your security deposit back to you. However, as long as you keep your apartment in good condition, you should have this fee returned to you within 45 days of moving out.
Aside from your rent itself, one of the biggest costs of renting an apartment will be your utilities. At almost all student housing apartment complexes, you’ll be paying these once a month, with the cost varying by month depending on your usage.
Some leases include certain utilities in monthly rent, but this varies at every apartment complex, so be sure to look at your lease before signing to see exactly what you’ll be responsible for.
Utilities may include, but are not limited to:
Since average utility prices vary greatly, it is best to ask your landlord what standard utility rates are each month before signing your lease. This way, you can be certain that they’ll fit into your budget.
Another factor to consider on top of utilities is a fee to cover the costs of setup, which many student apartment complexes will charge. This fee is a one-time charge and generally ranges from $25 to $100.
Many student housing apartments offer Wi-Fi, cable TV and washer/dryers inside the units included in your monthly installment. Others do not, so it’s important to ask before you sign a lease.
6. Rental Insurance
Most management companies will require tenants to get renter’s insurance that will cover both themselves and their belongings during the term of their lease. This is because most insurance only protects their property, so it will not cover your belongings in the event of theft, fire or natural causes.
Even if you aren’t required to purchase rental insurance, it’s always a good idea to have. Thankfully, renter’s insurance is pretty affordable, usually ranging from around $10 to $30 per month depending on the amount of coverage.
If you would like more information on renter’s insurance at Rambler, please contact our leasing office.
To keep the property as clean as possible, most student housing apartments require their residents to pay for trash service each month. This fee usually runs between $5 and $25 per month, but not all apartment complexes will charge extra for it, so be sure to check your lease!
8. Moving Costs
When you move in and out of an apartment, there are typically fees attached that you wouldn’t initially think of.
These might include, but are not limited to:
- Storage space
- Cleaning services
- Moving services
These fees can range from less than $50 to $500+ depending on your needs.
If you have a gap of time between your leases, you might need a storage unit near UT Austin to keep your things while you’re between places. Off-site self-storage spaces, such as CubeSmart or Public Storage, can cost between $50 and $400 depending on unit size.
When moving out of a student apartment, you need to clean your space to avoid an additional charge for leaving your space dirty. Many people opt to hire a cleaning service rather than doing this themselves. Some residents also choose to hire a cleaning service upon moving in, especially at older properties. Cleaning services can cost between $100 to $500 depending on your needs. Typically, for student apartments, services will fall on the lower end of this range.
Hiring movers can cost you $25 to $50 per hour for each professional, plus $20 to $50 per hour for the vehicle. Some properties hire movers to help assist new residents on move-in day. If your apartment does not provide movers, be sure to factor this into your housing budget.
9. Pet Fees and Rent
Looking to bring your pup with you? Most student housing apartments require that you pay an additional fee each month to do so. There are a few fees generally associated with pets.
First is a pet deposit. Pet deposits are generally refundable, and range from $100 to $350. These are usually due at the beginning of your rental term, but they can sometimes be due at the time of signing your lease. Similar to security deposits, they are intended to cover the costs of any damages your pet may cause beyond normal wear.
Some apartment complexes have non-refundable pet fees. These also range from $100 to $350. These are typically due at the beginning of your rental term, but can be due at the time you sign your lease.
Finally, some apartments charge monthly pet rent, which typically ranges from $12 to $35 per month and is typically due at the beginning of each month along with your apartment rent. Most apartments will charge this fee per pet, so if you have two pets, be prepared to pay twice as much.
At some apartments, rates vary depending on the size of your pet, but at others, they are the same for all tenants. Either way, be sure to add this to the cost of your monthly rent to better understand the total fixed amount that you’ll be responsible for each month.
10. Technology/Upgrade Packages
Last but not least, technology packages have become extremely popular within the past few years. Apartments find that residents are willing to pay more for them, and typically have packages available if residents so choose.
These packages might include luxury upgrades like Bluetooth shower heads, movie theater rooms, vanity rooms, smart home technologies, balcony premiums, and more.
They vary greatly in price and can range from less than $50 to hundreds of dollars each month, depending on the specific technology or upgrade. While most apartment complexes charge an additional price per month, usually tacked onto monthly rent, other apartments may have an upfront charge at the beginning of your rental period.
Overall, living off campus definitely has its perks – more amenities, more freedom, and sometimes even more affordability. However, when you begin to plan your budget for the next school year, it is important to take into account the additional costs that you may have initially overlooked.
We hope that this article helps bring awareness to some additional costs to consider when living in a student housing apartment. If you have any questions about student living or want to learn more about Rambler, contact our leasing staff, who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have during your housing search!