Overlooked Expenses Can Cost Renters $3,400 a Year

For renters looking to move, it’s important to plan for all potential expenses before committing to a specific place. Our latest analysis found that beyond the listed rent price, renters can spend $3,420 a year on costs associated with moving into and living in a rental, including the security deposit, application fee, pet deposit, pet rent and parking.

As rents continue to rise and affordability remains a challenge, these added costs can make it hard for renters to save. This affordability crunch has also led to more renters getting roommates or finding inventive ways to save for a down payment.

Of course, not every renter will move this year, pay for parking, or pay extra for their pet. But those who do can expect costs to add up quickly – particularly in the country’s most expensive rental markets. In San Francisco, a typical renter can spend $7,370 a year on these costs, while renters in New York, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., can spend more than $5,000 a year.

Security deposits are especially high in these markets, since they are typically equivalent to one month’s rent. Application fees can also add up fast – in fact, research shows that about 35 percent of renters find saving for the security deposit, application fees and other upfront costs challenging.

Optional costs many renters face – including pet deposits, pet rent and parking costs – can also add up. Nationally, renters typically spend $650 a year on pet deposits and pet rent, and $1,200 a year on parking.

To see what these commonly overlooked expenses add up to in the country’s largest metro areas, check out the chart below.