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Apartment with taxes

  1. Dec 15, 2009 #1
    I found an apartment cheaper than the one I'm currently in. Its around $500.00. I was just wondering if the tax rates for housing decreases with lower apartment costs -- do they? Also, what would the overall cost estimate to be (including taxes)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2009 #2
    I'm not exactly sure about the tax rate part but as far as the overall cost, you need to ask the landlord. It depends on what utilities are included, etc.
  4. Dec 16, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the reply. It wouldn't be too surprising if the overall costs went up to about $800 from a rent of $500, would it?
  5. Dec 16, 2009 #4
    If you include cable, phone, internet, electricity, water, heat, and your cell phone bill with a data plan... then no, it wouldn't be surprising :wink:. Depending on where you live, how much electricity you use, etc, I wouldn't expect heat, water, and electricity to bring your total up more than $100 or so, if none are included in the base rent. If you use a lot of heat and live in an inefficient apartment it could be more, but I'm assuming at $500 it's not a huge space.

    Also, I'm pretty sure in the states I've lived in there hasn't been any tax that I've had to pay on an apartment. It's all been included in the rent and handled by the property owners. I could be wrong about that, but I haven't received any nasty letters asking for money yet.
  6. Dec 16, 2009 #5
    Kote hit the nail on the head with this one. going up to $800 from $500 is not that surprising at all if no utilities are included in the $500. This is something you need to ask the ladlord and make sure they detail exactly what is included. Also find out what kind of heat the apartment uses as that will play a role in how much the utilities are. In my current apartment the base rent with only water included is $780. After all my utilities, including internet, tv, and phone, I pay about $1050 a month. And as far as the tax goes, in all my experiences the tax was handled by the property owner and it will probably be the same for you.
  7. Dec 16, 2009 #6
    I see. Thanks for all the replies. My options are between California and Ohio; California doesn't sound like too good a deal financially, so I'm considering shifting to Ohio (residency policies are also easier in Ohio).
  8. Dec 16, 2009 #7
    The cost of living in some parts of California is extremely high compared to schools in a lot of other parts of the nation. But you could probably find a reasonable option anywhere. While important, I don't think you should weigh the costs of apartments in the area too heavily while making your decision on attending a university . For example, you could always find a roomate to split the cost of an apartment with to keep things a little cheaper. After the 30% tuition hike in cali i'm sure it would be easy to find people willing to do that now.
  9. Dec 16, 2009 #8
    You do make a good point (I haven't fully made the decision yet).

    I am also planning to go to graduate school. By what I know, they pay graduate students a particular salary. Are most graduate students able to live off of that?
  10. Dec 16, 2009 #9
    Someone attending or that has attended graduate school recently can probably answer this a little better than I can but I will share what I know. I don't know any graduate students getting paid by the university just for being graduate students. Most grad students get jobs as TAs or RAs to pay their way. Some might have a paid research position. The ones I know can live off of their income from being TAs while attending graduate school. This is only with the bare essentials though.

    Since money is a factor here, it would be a good idea for you to look into being an RA after you finish your first year. Most RA positions aren't paid positions but they give you free housing (in the dorms) and a free meal plan. So you really don't need much income on the side to live comfortably if you are an RA.
  11. Dec 16, 2009 #10


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    Back when I rented an apartment, taxes were always included in the rent, because the landlord owned the property and therefore paid the property taxes etc.

    Utilities (heat, electricity, phone, etc.) were different. In one apartment I lived in, heat was included in the rent, but electricity was not. In another (actually a flat in a house), both heat and electricity were included. In both cases I had to pay for phone and cable TV.

    In any case, this was a long time ago (20 to 35 years ago), so even if I remembered the amount of money involved, it wouldn't be very relevant now.

    When I was in grad school, I had a half-time assistantship (teaching at first, research later). I did pretty well with it, even though housing costs were fairly high at the time (in Ann Arbor, Michigan), because of two factors: I always shared an apartment with someone else, and I didn't own a car. I was even able to travel to Europe a couple of times, keeping costs low by staying in hostels or with friends and relatives.
  12. Dec 16, 2009 #11


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    I have never heard of a renter paying taxes. that is the responsibility of the owner. The owner is on the tax role and the owner gets to deduct property taxes on their income tax return. If a landlord tries to charge you taxes, contact the county tax office and report them. They can hide it in the rent as part of what they charge, but there is no tax they can add, unless you live in a country with weird laws.
  13. Dec 16, 2009 #12


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    When considering the cost of housing, don't forget the cost of furniture. An unfurnished apartment rents for less than a furnished one, but you have to supply a bed and whatever other furniture you need.

    When I was in grad school, I shared a furnished apartment the whole time except the last year. That last year I moved to an unfurnished apartment, shared with three other people. At about that time my parents sold their house and moved into an apartment, so I got some of their furniture, which I had used when I was a kid. It didn't include a bed, though, and I didn't want to buy a whole bed because I was going to move out of town during the next year, so I got a secondhand mattress from somewhere and slept on the floor.
  14. Dec 16, 2009 #13
    The cost of furniture is generally a on-shot deal, though, and not a recurring monthly expense like rent.

    And, I second what Evo said. Now, I've only been a renter and landlord in Canada and the US, but I've not paid nor charged tax on rent.
  15. Dec 17, 2009 #14


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    I agree with all of the above. You should not be paying tax separately from rent. Any taxes you're covering with your rent are included in your rent. When I lived in NJ, they actually did let you use a percentage of your rent as a tax deduction on state taxes on the assumption that part was a good approximation of how much the landlord was paying in taxes.

    On the other hand, utilities can add substantially more than you might expect, and if you're paying your own, can also vary a lot and be hard to budget for in the first year if you don't have any basis of what to expect. The basics you might have to pay for that you can't get out of are water and sewer (sometimes one utility company handles both), gas and electric (again, sometimes separate, sometimes a single utility), and trash collection. Most consider some form of phone service necessary as well, whether cell phone or landline. The rest starts to get into optional things you can exclude if you can't afford it, like cable TV, internet service, etc.

    You would definitely want to find out what the average gas and electric bills were for previous tenants, especially if you're looking at places in areas with very hot summers or cold winters where the A/C or heat are going to need to be run, and the expenses are partially dependent on how well the building is insulated.
  16. Dec 17, 2009 #15
    I just received my rent bill today. Everything is itemized. There is no itemized item for taxes. Must be a state by state thing. WA doesn't have a renters tax. Of course the owners pass it on in the rent.
  17. Dec 17, 2009 #16
    Yes, utilities can be the big surprise, especially if the metre readings tend to get estimated for a while before they do an actual reading, and then you wind up with whopper bills.

    Here, most of the time, water, heat, and garbage disposal are included in rental properties (ie: apartments) (whatever heating system the building may have) and you have to pay for your own power, phone, cable, Internet, like that. Every place I've ever rented included heat, garbage, and water.

    As for estimating power costs, Moonbear's on the money with asking to see the previous tenant's power bill. We can't guess for you, because the cost of power varies widely depending on where you live and how big the space is that you're in. And even, as an example, I pay less for power in my two bedroom condo than I did in a rented one bedroom and den apartment. About $20.00 a month less in a condo that's almost 500 square feet larger than the rental apartment. I don't know why that is.

    Anyway, yes, good advice, ask to see previous bills. Find out what utilities are included in your rent.
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