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Rentals including utilities

 
statesidechange
(@statesidechange)
Advanced Member

I'm seeing quite a few rentals available that include utilities, on Craigslist. Typically, I think it's obvious which are scam rentals and these seem legitimate. I know the electric bills are one of the cons for moving to the islands but I'm thinking if the utilities are included.....that's a great deal. Any advice on this? Also, any advice on the cool, breezy sides of STT & STJ?
Thanks,
Carrie

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Topic starter Posted : July 7, 2013 10:15 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Be very cautious. Be sure you know EXACTLY what is included. If you need A/C, make sure the unit has it. And finally, don't sent/give any money until you actually see the unit.

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Posted : July 7, 2013 10:59 pm
statesidechange
(@statesidechange)
Advanced Member

Thanks Linda. I pm'ed you a few days ago (or I attempted to, may not have worked). I'm moving from KY and I think you moved back to KY.

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Topic starter Posted : July 7, 2013 11:14 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Because many apts. are part of a private house they may only have one electric meter and possibly the apt. is not even legally zoned, that is not uncommon and not likely to be an issue for the renter. A home that has a legally zoned apt. with its own meter usually would not include electric -- the same if it has public WAPA water with only one meter it would probably be included. Cable TV will not wire an Apt. connected to a house without a separate account but the owner could conceivably run extra wire and supply a separate box against company policy. Satellite TV connections may differ?
The coolest breeziest parts of STT and STJ usually have an East or North exposure and often are higher up.
Most apts. are part of an owner occupied private house or less commonly an investment property with an on island owner nearby.
I don't think an advertisement with 'utilities included' necessarily indicates a scam UNLESS they include heat!

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Posted : July 7, 2013 11:29 pm
rmb2830
(@rmb2830)
Advanced Member

. Cable TV will not wire an Apt. connected to a house without a separate account but the owner could conceivably run extra wire and supply a separate box against company policy. Satellite TV connections may differ?
!

Innovative used to have a different policy on cable...long ago, the staff in the office told us we should cancel our separate free-standing-guest-house account (we set up two accounts when we bought the house) and just wire the two together...however the policy seems to have changed over the years.

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Posted : July 7, 2013 11:45 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

My apt. rental is primarily used as a vacation rental but I do rent longer term, especially during the summer and fall months. Occasionally, I do rent for an even longer term, depending on the situation.I advertise it as fully furnished and include all the utilities in my rental since I provide it for vacation renters and it is much easier to deal with since it is all already set up with high speed wireless internet, electricity (no separate meter), DISH TV, water, pest control services, yard maintenance, plus other items in already my name. Keeps things simple and I know how the costs break down in terms of usage. It is a cost savings for tenants as they do not have to plop down $200 to install high speed internet, pay to install Dish TV and purchase their receivers, pay the deposits for WAPA and all other utilities they may need to move in as the landlord has already done so. Of course the tenant has to cover their share of costs of what is provided.

Some landlords will keep the electric in their name, even if metered separately and just have tenants pay their own bill as it comes in.
Makes it easy to have the electricity still in place when a tenant moves out and you have to clean the apt and need electricity to do so.

The scam rentals tend to advertise heating included.

North-side is coolest, tho depending on elevation you can get good breezes in different locations.

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Posted : July 8, 2013 1:07 am
statesidechange
(@statesidechange)
Advanced Member

I appreciate the info & it all makes sense. I like the thought of utilities included, just wanted to make sure it wasn't too good to be true. I understand its still expensive but sounds much easier b/c of deposits, planning a budget, etc.

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Topic starter Posted : July 8, 2013 1:22 am
sttpepper
(@sttpepper)
Active Member

As a landlord myself, I find that tenants are more conservative with their utilities if they pay their own electric bill. Thus, I would never offer electricity included. The rent that includes utilities may be higher if all the amenities (utilities) are included. It might be more economical for long term to rent a place that does not include utilities.

As prior posts mentioned, most apartments are part of a private home. So, every apartment is unique with advantages and disadvantages.

You need to see apartments IN PERSON and meet the potential landlord to evaluate the neighborhood, proximity to neighbors, quality of the apartment (not just the nice photos posted), the roads, the parking, etc. THEN compare ALL factors before making any financial commitments.

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Posted : July 8, 2013 5:01 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

. Of course the tenant has to cover their share of costs of what is provided.

What does that mean, when you mentioned that the utilities are included? Just that the rent is higher?

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Posted : July 8, 2013 5:21 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

The rental amount has to take into consideration all the utilities being offered, the tenants usage of all the utilities provided and cover your costs for those, wouldn't you agree? Unfortunately, my apt. does not have it's own meter but since I know my usage and what the apt. traditionally uses, this is really the best way to do it in my situation and since all the utilities are already in my name since I rent mostly short-term this seems to work out well for all concerned.

Especially if WAPA, Internet, DISH TV, filtered cistern water, free laundry facilities, propane, pest control services, yard maint., whole property generator, etc., are all included in the rental amount and you are offering a "just bring your suitcase" type rental where you are providing everything from Flat screen TV to silverware, Towels, etc. to tenants which I do since I am set up for vacation rentals.

I could separate the rent from the utilities and then have them pay additional for each and every utility provided each month but that would be more of a headache than it's worth, in the long run.

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Posted : July 8, 2013 10:53 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Maybe I'm mistaken but I think what EZ was asking is if the rent includes all the utilities versus your adding on something additional each month depending on WAPA usage. Your saying, "he tenant has to cover their share of costs of what is provided" was a little ambiguous.

I've seen some landlords advertise a dollar amount WAPA cap included in the rent which, as a tenant, I would rather steer away from. Not that I would inherently distrust a landlord but I'd just rather not rely on one to figure out my usage based on averages.

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Posted : July 8, 2013 1:12 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

It works well for some and not for others.

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Posted : July 8, 2013 3:11 pm
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

You've got some good info here that should help you understand the situation and decide what's right for you. A lot depends on having a good landlord -- that is really a very important factor down here. I would rather stay in a less desirable apartment with a great landlord than move to one that had everything I wanted but came with a "high-maintenance" landlord or manager.

"Electricity included" does not mean "use all you want and leave your AC running all the time." It means "I've figured out about how much a tenant is going to use on average, and I don't have a way to meter it separately, so I'll factor that cost into the rent." A cap may be noted in your lease, or it may just be a verbal understanding between you and your landlord that you'll kick in if the bill starts rising above a certain level. Different landlords will handle "included" in different ways, so just find out up front what they mean.

Good luck!

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Posted : July 8, 2013 4:30 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

It works well for some and not for others.

I understand that completely. The question is, does your rent INCLUDE the utilities or do you estimate an additional amount to be paid by your tenants?

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Posted : July 8, 2013 4:31 pm
statesidechange
(@statesidechange)
Advanced Member

You've got some good info here that should help you understand the situation and decide what's right for you. A lot depends on having a good landlord -- that is really a very important factor down here. I would rather stay in a less desirable apartment with a great landlord than move to one that had everything I wanted but came with a "high-maintenance" landlord or manager.

"Electricity included" does not mean "use all you want and leave your AC running all the time." It means "I've figured out about how much a tenant is going to use on average, and I don't have a way to meter it separately, so I'll factor that cost into the rent." A cap may be noted in your lease, or it may just be a verbal understanding between you and your landlord that you'll kick in if the bill starts rising above a certain level. Different landlords will handle "included" in different ways, so just find out up front what they mean.

Good luck!

fdr~I'm 40 years old. My days of being irresponsible are long gone but I won't say they never happened :D. I was thinking it was a good situation because of budgeting and the paying one bill (rent) instead of 4+ bills (or however many). I would fully expect for there to be an adjustment if my usage wasn't covered with rent.

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Topic starter Posted : July 8, 2013 6:08 pm
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