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Avoid Hidden Fees in Your Next Rental

Avoid Hidden Fees 

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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Receiving nation attention during the 1960's and 70's, songs and movies about truck driving were major hits. Finding solidarity, truck drivers participated in widespread strikes. Truck drivers from all over opposed the rising cost of fuel. Not to mention this is during the energy crises of 1873 and 1979. In 1980 the Motor Carrier Act drastically deregulated the trucking industry. Since then trucking has come to dominate the freight industry in the latter part of the 20th century. This coincided with what are now known as 'big-box' stores such as Target or Wal-Mart.

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.

As we've learned the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was crucial in the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Described as an interconnected network of the controlled-access freeway. It also allowed larger trucks to travel at higher speeds through rural and urban areas alike. This act was also the first to allow the first federal largest gross vehicle weight limits for trucks, set at 73,208 pounds (33,207 kg). The very same year, Malcolm McLean pioneered modern containerized intermodal shipping. This allowed for the more efficient transfer of cargo between truck, train, and ships.

Beginning the the early 20th century, the 1920's saw several major advancements. There was improvement in rural roads which was significant for the time. The diesel engine, which are 25-40% more efficient than gas engines were also a major breakthrough. We also saw the standardization of truck and trailer sizes along with fifth wheel coupling systems. Additionally power assisted brakes and steering developed. By 1933, all states had some form of varying truck weight regulation.

A trailer is not very difficult to categorize. In general, it is an unpowered vehicle towed by a powered vehicle. Trailers are most commonly used for the transport of goods and materials. Although some do enjoy recreational usage of trailers as well. 

Another film released in 1975, White Line Fever, also involved truck drivers. It tells the story of a Vietnam War veteran who returns home to take over his father's trucking business. But, he soon finds that corrupt shippers are trying to force him to carry illegal contraband. While endorsing another negative connotation towards the trucking industry, it does portray truck drivers with a certain wanderlust.

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.

All cars must pass some sort of emission check, such as a smog check to ensure safety. Similarly, trucks are subject to noise emission requirement, which is emanating from the U.S. Noise Control Act. This was intended to protect the public from noise health side effects. The loud noise is due to the way trucks contribute disproportionately to roadway noise. This is primarily due to the elevated stacks and intense tire and aerodynamic noise characteristics.

The United States' Interstate Highway System is full of bypasses and loops with the designation of a three-digit number. Usually beginning with an even digit, it is important to note that this pattern is highly inconsistent. For example, in Des Moines, Iowa the genuine bypass is the main route. More specifically, it is Interstate 35 and Interstate 80, with the loop into downtown Des Moines being Interstate 235. As it is illustrated in this example, they do not always consistently begin with an even number. However, the 'correct' designation is exemplified in Omaha, Nebraska. In Omaha, Interstate 480 traverses the downtown area, which is bypassed by Interstate 80, Interstate 680, and Interstate 95. Interstate 95 then in turn goes through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Interstate 295 is the bypass around Philadelphia, which leads into New Jersey. Although this can all be rather confusing, it is most important to understand the Interstate Highway System and the role bypasses play.

The United States Department of Transportation has become a fundamental necessity in the moving industry. It is the pinnacle of the industry, creating and enforcing regulations for the sake of safety for both businesses and consumers alike. However, it is notable to appreciate the history of such a powerful department. The functions currently performed by the DOT were once enforced by the Secretary of Commerce for Transportation. In 1965, Najeeb Halaby, administrator of the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA), had an excellent suggestion. He spoke to the current President Lyndon B. Johnson, advising that transportation be elevated to a cabinet level position. He continued, suggesting that the FAA be folded or merged, if you will, into the DOT. Clearly, the President took to Halaby's fresh ideas regarding transportation, thus putting the DOT into place.

DOT officers of each state are generally in charge of the enforcement of the Hours of Service (HOS). These are sometimes checked when CMVs pass through weigh stations. Drivers found to be in violation of the HOS can be forced to stop driving for a certain period of time. This, in turn, may negatively affect the motor carrier's safety rating. Requests to change the HOS are a source of debate. Unfortunately, many surveys indicate drivers routinely get away with violating the HOS. Such facts have started yet another debate on whether motor carriers should be required to us EOBRs in their vehicles. Relying on paper-based log books does not always seem to enforce the HOS law put in place for the safety of everyone.

The Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula is a mathematical formula used in the United States to determine the appropriate gross weight for a long distance moving vehicle, based on the axle number and spacing. Enforced by the Department of Transportation upon long-haul truck drivers, it is used as a means of preventing heavy vehicles from damaging roads and bridges. This is especially in particular to the total weight of a loaded truck, whether being used for commercial moving services or for long distance moving services in general.   According to the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula, the total weight of a loaded truck (tractor and trailer, 5-axle rig) cannot exceed 80,000 lbs in the United States. Under ordinary circumstances, long-haul equipment trucks will weight about 15,000 kg (33,069 lbs). This leaves about 20,000 kg (44,092 lbs) of freight capacity. Likewise, a load is limited to the space available in the trailer, normally with dimensions of 48 ft (14.63 m) or 53 ft (16.15 m) long, 2.6 m (102.4 in) wide, 2.7 m (8 ft 10.3 in) high and 13 ft 6 in or 4.11 m high.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) are fundamental to the FMCSA's compliance program. The purpose of the CSA program is to oversee and focus on motor carriers' safety performance. To enforce such safety regulations, the CSA conducts roadside inspections and crash investigations. The program issues violations when instances of noncompliance with CSA safety regulations are exposed.   Unfortunately, the CSA's number of safety investigation teams and state law enforcement partners are rather small in comparison to the millions of CMV companies and commercial driver license (CDL) holders. A key factor in the CSA program is known as the Safety Measurement System (SMS). This system relies on data analysis to identify unsafe companies to arrange them for safety interventions. SMS is incredibly helpful to CSA in finding and holding companies accountable for safety performance.  

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is most commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, Interstate Freeway System, Interstate System, or simply the Interstate. It is a network of controlled-access highways that forms a part of the National Highway System of the United States. Named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who endorsed its formation, the idea was to have portable moving and storage. Construction was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The original portion was completed 35 years later, although some urban routes were canceled and never built. The network has since been extended and, as of 2013, it had a total length of 47,856 miles (77,017 km), making it the world's second longest after China's. As of 2013, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system. In 2006, the cost of construction had been estimated at about $425 billion (equivalent to $511 billion in 2015).

Relocation, or moving, is the process of vacating a fixed location, such as a residence or business, and settling in a different one. A move might be to a nearby location such as in the same neighborhood or a much farther location in a different city or even a different country. Moving usually includes packing up all belongings, transferring them to the new location, and unpacking them. It will also be necessary to update administrative information. This includes tasks such as notifying the post office, changing registration data, change of insurance, services etc. It is important to remember this step in the relocation process. 

A circumferential route refers to a public transportation system that follows the route in the shape of a circle. Over time a nickname developed in the European Union, calling transportation networks such as these a "ring road". This is no surprise as Europe has several famous "ring roads" such as the Berliner Ring, the Brussels Ring, the Amsterdam Ring, the Boulevard Périphérique around Paris and the Leeds Inner and Outer ring roads. Other countries adopted the term as well which in turn made the name go international. Australia's Melbourne's Western Ring Road and India's Hyderabad's Outer Ring Road both adopted the name. However in Canada, the term is most commonly used, with "orbital" used to a much lesser extent.   On the contrary, the United States calls many "ring roads" as belt-lines, beltways, or loops instead. For example, the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. Some ring roads use terminology such as "Inner Loop" and "Outer Loop". This is, of course, for the sake of directional sense, since compass directions cannot be determined around the entire loop.

The rise of technological development gave rise to the modern trucking industry. There a few factors supporting this spike in the industry such as the advent of the gas-powered internal combustion engine. Improvement in transmissions is yet another source, just like the move away from chain drives to gear drives. And of course the development of the tractor/semi-trailer combination.   The first state weight limits for trucks were determined and put in place in 1913. Only four states limited truck weights, from a low of 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg) in Maine to a high of 28,000 pounds (13,000 kg) in Massachusetts. The intention of these laws was to protect the earth and gravel-surfaced roads. In this case, particular damages due to the iron and solid rubber wheels of early trucks. By 1914 there were almost 100,000 trucks on America's roads. As a result of solid tires, poor rural roads, and a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour (24km/h) continued to limit the use of these trucks to mostly urban areas.

1941 was a tough era to live through. Yet, President Roosevelt appointed a special committee to explore the idea of a "national inter-regional highway" system. Unfortunately, the committee's progress came to a halt with the rise of the World War II. After the war was over, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 authorized the designation of what are not termed 'Interstate Highways'. However, he did not include any funding program to build such highways. With limited resources came limited progress until President Dwight D. Eisenhower came along in 1954. He renewed interest in the 1954 plan. Although, this began and long and bitter debate between various interests. Generally, the opposing sides were considering where such funding would come from such as rail, truck, tire, oil, and farm groups. All who would overpay for the new highways and how.

Driver's licensing has coincided throughout the European Union in order to for the complex rules to all member states. Driving a vehicle weighing more than 7.5 tons (16,535 lb) for commercial purposes requires a certain license. This specialist licence type varies depending on the use of the vehicle and number of seat. Licences first acquired after 1997, the weight was reduced to 3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb), not including trailers.

In today's society, there are rules and regulations everywhere you go, the same goes for commercial vehicles. The federal government has strict regulations that must be met, such as how many hours a driver may be on the clock. For example, 11 hours driving /14 hours on-duty followed by 10 hours off, with a max of 70 hours/8 days or 60 hours/7 days. They can also set rules deciding how much rest and sleep time is required, however, these are only a couple of regulations set. Any violations are often subject to harsh penalties. In some cases, there are instruments to track each driver's hours, which are becoming more necessary.