Avoid Hidden Fees in Your Next Rental Home

Hidden Fees in Your Next Rental

  1. What Kind of Charges are There?
  2. Legitimate Charges
  3. Questionable Charges
  4. Illegitimate Charges

1. What Kind of Charges are There?

Unfortunately, moving to a new home is seldom a cheap process these days. If you are desperate to save a few dollars on your next move to a new home, then you should take some precautionary measures when signing off your rental. If you are struck with the feeling that the rental terms are too good to be true, you may just be right. There could be hidden fees that give the appearance that the overall cost of your rental is a steal. In order of how common they are, here are Moving Authority’s list of the additional fees that are commonly tacked on to rental paperwork. This can be intimidating if this is your first time moving from home, but you will be fine as long as you're informed. Sometimes, all you need to avoid these fees is some negotiation skills.

2. Legitimate Charges

  • Amenities Fees: Depending on the property you are relocating to, the building may require that you pay a recurring fee for the use of public areas of the building. For example, if your apartment complex features a communal gym or swimming pool, your monthly amenities fee will go toward the maintenance of these structures. These fees can seldom be negotiated since the managers of the building cannot determine whether or not you are using the amenities they provide. On the other hand, there may be some amenities fees that can be negotiated out of the overall cost of your rental. For example, if the building includes a parking spot in their private lot as part of your monthly fee, this is something that can be negotiated out, especially if you don’t own a car.
  • Installation Fees: If you are moving into a newly built or remodeled rental, then it may not be required to support cable or the internet. The installation of the wiring necessary to support these modern features will probably show up as an additional charge on your lease. If the cost of installation seems a bit high, then you may consider asking if you can use your own person to do the job. However, some managers prefer to have the work done by their own staff to ensure that it is done correctly, or maybe because they want to profit from the fee you pay, while they are paying a contractor's rate.

3. Questionable Charges

  • Guest Fees: While it makes sense for a landlord to limit the number of people residing in a single apartment unit, they do not have the right to charge you for guests staying for a few nights. Moving Authority recently looked into a case study involving a select number of landlords. It was discovered that one out of every three landlords monitored their tenant’s water and power usage. They took note of any surge in the usage of their tenant’s utilities and charged them for “guest fees”. Not only is it completely wrong to nickel-and-dime people on top of the rent they already pay, but it is also illegal. Not to mention, it drastically limits the social life that you can have in your own home.

4. Illegitimate Charges

  • Nonrefundable Deposits: A deposit is defined as a sum of money that is returned upon the satisfaction of certain terms or conditions. Be wary of any deposit that is labeled as “nonrefundable” on your lease agreement. Inform the landlord that this charge is a contradiction of themselves.
  • Cleaning and Repair Fees: The security deposit you put down when you move into a new home will cover any wear and tear that will be put in your place. Your landlord is responsible for the repairs that are needed in your unit when you are a tenant, as well as preparations needed to get the unit ready for the next tenant after you. The only fee that you should have to pay is when you break or damage something out of negligence. The repairs will come out of your security deposit and do not warrant another fee.
  • Administration Fee: A significant number of landlords will try to charge you for their expenses when they are operating the building. Your administration fees could range from you paying for the manager’s advertising costs to you covering their office supplies. If you are looking at a lease that includes any kind of fee labeled as “administrative” or “administrating”, then you should immediately call it out.

5. Don't Be Hesitant to Speak Up

If there are certain aspects of your lease that don’t make sense to you, or if there are any fees that require more explanation for you to understand. If you agree to pay additional fees on top of what you are already paying for rent, then be sure to clarify whether these are one-time fees, or if they are recurring charges. Be sure to have your landlord clarify this in the lease as well. Do not sign your lease until you are sure that everything is correct. Treat your lease agreement just as you would treat your agreement with a moving company, don't let landlords ding you with fees that do not make sense.

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Did You Know


The trucking industry has made a large historical impact since the early 20th century. It has affected the U.S. both politically as well as economically since the notion has begun. Previous to the invention of automobiles, most freight was moved by train or horse-drawn carriage. Trucks were first exclusively used by the military during World War I.
After the war, construction of paved roads increased. As a result, trucking began to achieve significant popularity by the 1930's. Soon after trucking became subject to various government regulation, such as the hours of service. During the later 1950's and 1960's, trucking accelerated due to the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The Interstate Highway System is an extensive network of freeways linking major cities cross country.

Question The Motor Carrier Act, passed by Congress in 1935, replace the code of competition. The authorization the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) place was to regulate the trucking industry. Since then the ICC has been long abolished, however, it did quite a lot during its time. Based on the recommendations given by the ICC, Congress enacted the first hours of services regulation in 1938. This limited driving hours of truck and bus drivers. In 1941, the ICC reported that inconsistent weight limitation imposed by the states cause problems to effective interstate truck commerce.

Question In 1976, the number one hit on the Billboard chart was "Convoy," a novelty song by C.W. McCall about a convoy of truck drivers evading speed traps and toll booths across America. The song inspired the 1978 action film Convoy directed by Sam Peckinpah. After the film's release, thousands of independent truck drivers went on strike and participated in violent protests during the 1979 energy crisis (although similar strikes had occurred during the 1973 energy crisis).

Question The public idea of the trucking industry in the United States popular culture has gone through many transformations. However, images of the masculine side of trucking are a common theme throughout time. The 1940's first made truckers popular, with their songs and movies about truck drivers. Then in the 1950's they were depicted as heroes of the road, living a life of freedom on the open road. Trucking culture peaked in the 1970's as they were glorified as modern days cowboys, outlaws, and rebels. Since then the portrayal has come with a more negative connotation as we see in the 1990's. Unfortunately, the depiction of truck drivers went from such a positive depiction to that of troubled serial killers.

Question In 1971, author and director Steven Spielberg, debuted his first feature length film. His made-for-tv film, Duel, portrayed a truck driver as an anonymous stalker. Apparently there seems to be a trend in the 70's to negatively stigmatize truck drivers.

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Question Invented in 1890, the diesel engine was not an invention that became well known in popular culture. It was not until the 1930's for the United States to express further interest for diesel engines to be accepted. Gasoline engines were still in use on heavy trucks in the 1970's, while in Europe they had been entirely replaced two decades earlier.

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Question The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is an influential association as an advocate for transportation. Setting important standards, they are responsible for publishing specifications, test protocols, and guidelines. All which are used in highway design and construction throughout the United States. Despite its name, the association represents more than solely highways. Alongside highways, they focus on air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.

Question As of January 1, 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established as its own separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. This came about under the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999". The FMCSA is based in Washington, D.C., employing more than 1,000 people throughout all 50 States, including in the District of Columbia. Their staff dedicates themselves to the improvement of safety among commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and to saving lives.

Question The term "lorry" has an ambiguous origin, but it is likely that its roots were in the rail transport industry. This is where the word is known to have been used in 1838 to refer to a type of truck (a freight car as in British usage) specifically a large flat wagon. It may derive from the verb lurry, which means to pull or tug, of uncertain origin. It's expanded meaning was much more exciting as "self-propelled vehicle for carrying goods", and has been in usage since 1911. Previously, unbeknownst to most, the word "lorry" was used for a fashion of big horse-drawn goods wagon.

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Question The USDOT (USDOT or DOT) is considered a federal Cabinet department within the U.S. government. Clearly, this department concerns itself with all aspects of transportation with safety as a focal point. The DOT was officially established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, beginning its operation on April 1, 1967. Superior to the DOT, the United States Secretary of Transportation governs the department. The mission of the DOT is to "Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life for the American people, today and into the future." Essentially this states how important it is to improve all types of transportation as a way to enhance both safety and life in general etc. It is important to note that the DOT is not in place to hurt businesses, but to improve our "vital national interests" and our "quality of life". The transportation networks are in definite need of such fundamental attention. Federal departments such as the USDOT are key to this industry by creating and enforcing regulations with intentions to increase the efficiency and safety of transportation. 

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Question Smoke and the Bandit was released in 1977, becoming the third-highest grossing movie. Following only behind Star Wars Episode IV and Close Encounter of the Third Kind, all three movies making an impact on popular culture. Conveniently, during that same year, CB Bears debuted as well. The Saturday morning cartoon features mystery-solving bears who communicate by CB radio. As the 1970's decade began to end and the 80's broke through, the trucking phenomenon had wade. With the rise of cellular phone technology, the CB radio was no longer popular with passenger vehicles, but, truck drivers still use it today.

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