Apartment Features Increasing Your Rent

There are a lot of factors determining rent price, primarily location, square footage, and upkeep. However "free" perks that come with your lease, have a cost, and that cost is hidden in your monthly rent. Amenities like on-site laundry, a private gym, or a doorman, can all raise your monthly rent. Read on for a breakdown of what different apartment features could be costing you.

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On-Site Laundry

Schlepping your dirty clothes to the laundromat is a huge inconvenience, but having a free on-site washer and dryer isn't so free. A new washer and dryer cost around $1500 together, and landlords push that cost off onto their tenants incrementally. Though specific numbers vary from city to city, you can expect on-site laundry to increase monthly rent. According to the New York Times, buildings with on-site laundry cost about $80 more per month than comparable units without laundry. In Boston, in-unit laundry raised monthly rent prices by $60, while cities like Los Angeles and Chicago only saw increases of around $40.

Is it worth it? That will depend on your lifestyle. On average, a load at a laundromat will cost you $1.50. If you wash three loads of laundry per trip, and add on another $1.50 to toss it all in one industrial dryer, a single laundromat trip will probably cost you around $6. If you go twice a month, that is $12 a month on laundry instead of paying an extra $40-$80 in rent. Over the course of a year, if you live in NYC, which featured the most dramatic rent surcharges, hauling your laundry to the Laundromat could save you $816 each year.

While the numbers seem straightforward, on-site laundry may still be worth it for many renters. Time is money, and going to the laundromat requires you to sacrifice two hours of your weekend waiting for your clothes to dry. In addition, if your local laundromat isn't on your block, there are extra transportation costs that must be factored in. For renters that find themselves constantly throwing a load of laundry in (for example, new parents committed to using cloth diapers), an in-unit washer might be a godsend.

Private Fitness Center

84% of renters said that they would like a private gym in their apartment building. This amenity isn't free however. Renters in buildings with private fitness centers will see their monthly rent increase by somewhere between $20-$90 per month. In more affordable cities like Atlanta and Miami, a private gym will only cost tenants an additional $25 each month, while in high priced markets like New York and Boston, tenants could see rent hikes of $90 and $75 a month, respectively.

As the average gym membership costs around $45 a month, plus pricy initiation fees, the cost of an on-site fitness center is a relative bargain if it allows you to drop your regular gym membership. An added bonus: the chances of you exercising are higher when you only have to walk down the hall.

That being said, make sure you are getting your money's worth. Take a tour of the fitness center before signing the lease, if it doesn't have the machines you need, you may end up getting an external gym membership, negating the benefits of an on-site gym. Remember, you are paying for an on-site fitness center whether you use it or not. If you don't exercise, or are committed to boutique exercise classes like Crossfit, barre class, or yoga, you might do better saving your money and finding a building without gym facilities.

A Doorman

Across the board, the most expensive apartment amenity is a doorman. The doorman's salary is spread across all of the building's tenants, which ends up costing renters anywhere from $90 to $260 each month in rent surcharges. A doorman does more than just opening the door. They can sign for packages for tenants and also help maintain building security, which is especially valuable in densely packed urban areas like NYC. Some people also enjoy the camaraderie they build with their building's doorman.

However, there is a steep price to pay for those services. In Philadelphia, one can expect a doorman to add an extra $110 to their monthly rent, while in Boston, tenants pay on average $200 extra dollars per month for the privilege of living in a building with a doorman.



Besides the added monthly rent, tenants are expected to give generous end of year tips to their doorman. Some renters believe doormen to be more trouble than they are worth, finding them to be nosy and gossipy. If you aren't worried about the safety of your neighborhood, or are averse to having your privacy invaded, save your money and opt for a building without a doorman.

While amenities are convenient, they come at a cost. Do some calculations to determine what they are actually worth to you, and conduct your apartment search accordingly. Start hunting today!


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