What Utilities Will You Pay For When Renting an Apartment in Austin, Texas?

When renting an apartment in Austin, Texas, there are a variety of utility costs you’ll likely need to pay in addition to your monthly base rent. After we prepared your list of apartments to tour, we will meet with the listing agent on-site and they will discuss what’s included in your base rent and what other items you’ll be responsible for. Being aware of these expenses is important when budgeting and comparing different rental properties because the older the property, the higher the energy bills. This is primarily due to the age of the structure, AC unit and the amount of insulation in the walls and ceilings. This article will provide an overview of the most common utilities renters in Texas can expect to pay for themselves when living in an apartment here in Austin, TX.


One of the largest recurring utility expenses in an apartment is electricity. If you decide to rent an apartment in Austin, your electrical company will be Austin Energy . As a renter, you’ll likely need to set up and pay for your own electric service with them before you move into your apartment. If you live further North in Round Rock or Georgetown you might be zoned for your electricity with Pedernales Electric Co-op.

Some factors that influence electricity costs include:

  • Size of the apartment – the larger the apartment the more your electricity bills.
  • Energy efficiency of appliances – most applicances are energy efficient however the biggest influence on your energy bill will be your AC and your electric dryer
  • Personal usage habits – don’t forget to turn those lights off! Many apartments don’t pay the extra cost to swap their bulbs to LED so if they are halogen, you’re gonna get a higher bill

During hot Texas summers, air conditioning can lead to high electric bills if not used moderately and when you leave your place, make sure to turn your AC down or off completely as cooling down an 800 square foot apartment can take as little as 30 minutes. Additionally, if your have South facing windows, cover those suckers up with black out curtains! You might also consider apartments with programmable thermostats so that you can change the heating and cooling schedules depending on when your away from home at work. While you won’t like have the option to swap out various items in your apartment that include energy efficient appliances, double pane windows, and good insulation to keep costs down it’s something to be knowledgeable about in case you decide it’s time to go house hunting after your lease is up and you want a place of your own.

Water and Sewer

Paying for water and sewer service is common for renters in Texas apartments. Charges are typically based on your usage determined by a unit meter and can range between $20-$40. Costs will be higher if there are multiple occupants using a lot of water or if you have a new baby taking baths every night.

Conserving water can save you money each month. Some ways to reduce usage include:

  • Taking shorter showers or swap out your shower head for one that uses less than 2gpm (gallons per minute)
  • Running full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • Fixing any leaks promptly
  • Installing low-flow aerators on faucets

If the apartment community has a pool, utilities may also cover water treatment chemicals, maintenance, heating, etc so that’s not going to be something you are billed for directly. These expenses are often divided among all residents and included in a monthly amenity or utility fee that your leasing agent will explain. If they don’t make sure to ask during your tour so you know exactly what you are and are not paying for at their community.

Trash Pickup/Disposal

Most apartment buildings will arrange for trash removal services and recycle collection. They likely will require you to drop your trash or recycling in the designated dumpsters located on-site at the property. Some communities will offer trash pickup outside your front door but just know there will be a fee for that! The fees to cover pickup and landfill charges are typically passed along to residents for a few dollars a month.

In some cases, you may have to pay an independent waste management company directly for these services when living in an apartment but this is more thank likely only if you intent to rent a duplex, townhome or single family home in a designated rental community.


Apartments with gas stoves, ovens, and heating systems will need residents to activate gas service but if I had to guess less than 5% of all apartments in Austin have a gas stove. You’ll get monthly gas bills based on consumption by Texas Gas Service. Gas prices also fluctuate seasonally, with higher rates in cold weather months although I haven’t seen a bill higher than $20 before. Should your apartment have gas service, you might consider using a gas dryer instead of electric to save some money since it’s generally cheaper to run your dryer on gas.

If there is a shared water heater for the building, you’ll likely split the gas costs with neighbors through a utility billing company so be sure to ask your leasing agent about what those average fees and costs are when we go on tour.


While not strictly utilities, most renters consider cable television, internet access, and home phone service to be essential services they need to survice in this modern world. Since Google Fiber came to town, other companies like Spectrum, AT&T and Astound have been playing catchup. While bundling multiple services together or paying annual fees upfront instead of month-to-month are common ways to secure discounts, your apartment community may already have discounted services that are bundled at a discounted price that you can explore while touring. Be sure to clarify exactly what is included before signing any contracts and if there are early termination fees!

Some newer apartment buildings offer complimentary high-speed internet or satellite TV access to incentivize renters or will offer it for free in their community guest areas.

Miscellaneous Utilities

Depending on the apartment community, other more specialized utilities could be billed to residents separately:

  • Pest control – Covers periodic visits from an exterminator to control rodents, insects, bed bugs, etc. in individual units and shared spaces if issues arise.
  • Stormwater management – Local municipalities often charge fees (based on the amount of impervious surface area) to fund infrastructure projects to control flooding and discharge rainwater runoff. These costs are passed along to renters in some areas.
  • Garbage valet – A few luxury apartments provide the optional extra service of having staff collect trash from within your unit on request to increase convenience. Expect fees upwards of $20-$50 per month if this is offered.

Estimating Total Utility Costs

Utility expenses can easily add $50-$400+ per month to the overall cost of renting an apartment, depending on size, usage levels and what’s included in the base rent not to mention the cost of internet and cable these days! Carefully accounting for electricity, water, cable and other services is key when budgeting.

Be sure to clarify exactly what utilities are covered by the landlord versus what you’ll have to pay directly as the tenant when comparing apartment options. It’s also a good idea to ask about the average utility costs current residents pay to better understand the expenses.

While you have little control over fluctuating energy rates, being an energy efficient tenant by conserving resources can help minimize monthly bills. Utilizing online accounts and payment options offered by most providers also makes it easier to monitor usage and avoid unexpected high charges.

Identify Apartments with the Lowest Utility Costs in Austin, Texas – Contact Ross the Locator Boss at 512-320-4599 Today!

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