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Are Apartment Amenities Free?

Find your next Apartment
June 16, 2021
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When choosing an apartment, the first consideration that you probably have in mind is whether you can afford the rent, with the next being location, and the last being the basic necessities like sleeping quarters, living space, and storage.

However, once you’ve checked those boxes, it’s time to move on to the “pot sweetener”: amenities!

From 24/7 doorman services to high-speed elevators, to swimming pools, the list of amenities that apartment buildings offer depends on the type of building, the demographics of the residents, and how desirable the units are in a complex.

If you are unsure how to find the amenities in your building, here’s everything you need to know.

What are Apartment Amenities?

First of all, let’s define the term, “apartment amenities''. In a nutshell, these are any unique non-essential features or services that are offered to tenants. Amenities are used as a way to entice new renters, as well as to encourage current tenants to extend their lease.

Anything that functions beyond the bare essentials of an apartment can be considered an amenity. For example, many apartments have some type of kitchen setup that contains basic appliances such as a stove and fridge. However, higher-end apartments could come with expensive top-of-the-line appliances; you can consider these as amenities.

The same thought applies to building services. Many apartments have a parking space allotted for tenants, but providing 24/7 building security or CCTV cameras in the parking lot can be considered an amenity.

Buildings with more amenities generally charge higher rent to help offset the cost of maintenance. These fees also help cover the salaries of people who provide these services such as doormen, pool lifeguards, etc.

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Are Apartment Amenities Free?

Apartment amenities are “free” because you aren’t paying a separate fee for using them. Typically, the fees are already included in the price of your rent. However, you can opt out of optional amenities that don’t apply to you if the lease allows it. For example, if you don’t have a car, you can talk to the property manager or landlord to deduct the cost of renting a parking space in the building.

Landlords or property managers often have the last say regarding the inclusion or removal of amenities in your lease. Don’t be afraid to ask about removing any amenities that you won’t be using; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on a service that doesn’t apply to you!

Keep in mind that for communal amenities, you won’t be able to opt out of paying the fees even if you don’t use them since these amenities are for all tenants.

Communal Amenities

Communal amenities are services or perks that are exclusive to the building’s tenants. If your building has any of these amenities, you are entitled to use them since you are already paying for them out of your rent.

Some communal amenities include:

General Living Amenities

  • Security services/doormen
  • Laundry facilities
  • Onsite maintenance team
  • Hot & cold water

Recreational Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Playground
  • Garden/Green Spaces
  • Rooftop
  • Gym/fitness centers
  • Community lounge

Personal Amenities

Personal amenities are optional and will depend on your specific needs as a tenant. For example, if you have a car or a bike, you might want to pay extra for parking space or bike storage.

If you have a pet, you might want to choose a pet-friendly unit. A garden apartment, for example, allows you easy access outside to walk your pet.

It’s a good idea to talk with the landlord or property manager for these personal amenities before you sign your lease. That way, you can make other arrangements if you can’t avail of the personal amenities that you need. If the building lacks bike storage, for example, you can ask for a unit that’s on the lower floors so that you can take your bike to your room more easily. .

Should I Pay Extra for In-Unit Amenities?

In-unit amenities refer to amenities that are located inside your apartment. Obviously, they can only be used by you or your guests. For high-end apartments, in-unit amenities are usually included in the rent. In fact, many landlords go out of their way to procure high-end amenities to entice tenants who have the capacity to pay expensive rent on a long-time lease.

If there are in-unit amenities that you want in your apartment that aren’t included in your lease, you can also bring it up with the property manager before your move-in date. You might need to pay for the cost of the amenities as well as the installation, so make sure that you’ll be staying in the unit long enough to make it worth the expense.

Must-Have Amenities

Generally, your must-have amenities are completely up to you. However, if you don’t know which amenities to include in your lease, here are some suggestions:

In-unit laundry facilities

If you have an apartment that’s big enough to accommodate a washer and dryer, then you should definitely consider getting in-unit laundry facilities. Sure, it might be a bit expensive, but consider all the time and energy you’ll be saving! No one likes having to trek down to the laundry room and back up to their room carrying a heavy load of laundry.

Cooling and Heating

For those who live in states with extreme temperatures (New York, for instance, has sweltering summers and freezing winters), having efficient cooling and heating services can be a lifesaver. While you can save a bit of money on temperature control by choosing middle-level apartments, it might not be enough during extreme weather conditions. Remember, it’s always better to have the option of having a working thermostat and not need it, rather than the other way around.

Dishwasher

Did you know that using a dishwasher can actually save more water and energy compared to doing dishes by hand? Of course, if you’re living alone or you typically eat out, you’re obviously better off with just doing dishes manually. However, if you’re doing dishes every night, a dishwasher might be the better option.

High-speed Internet & Cable

We live in a digital age. You can use the Internet for virtually everything, from paying bills to doing groceries, to running errands, so getting high-speed Internet is almost a requirement. What’s more, many apartment buildings accept online payments for rent, so you won’t need to worry about going to your landlord every month. Since Internet companies often bundle cable services with a subscription, look for a cable-ready apartment as well.

Rooftop/Greenspace

If you live in a densely populated city like New York or Boston, you know just how important it is to have green space. Although Boston has many great dog parks and New York has Central Park, there is still something to be said about having a green space in your building to just relax, unwind, and reconnect with nature.

Final Thoughts

When you consider how stressful work and life can be, apartment amenities can make living in an apartment easier and more enjoyable. Whether it’s having a gym where you can have a daily workout or paying off your rent with a few clicks on your phone, many apartment amenities are worth the extra expense.

The trick is finding which amenities are worth the cost! Before you rent an apartment, it’s a good idea to list down all the amenities that you’re looking for in a unit. That way, you can have a checklist of what you need and make the decision to rent easier.

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