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Ask The Apartment Experts: What Does “All Utilities Included” Mean?

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Ask The Apartment Experts: Wht Does "All Utilities Included" Mean?

What Does “All Utilities Included” Mean?

With most rentals, the phrase, “all utilities included” means the building or landlord pays for water, sewer, trash, electric, heat, and gas.  One of the best ways to keep your housing budget in check and predictable is to rent an apartment with all utilities included.  Read more…

So you’re scrolling through Craigslist looking for your next abode when you see the title, “1BR Apt, on the Red Line, ALL Utilities Included”.  What does that actually mean?

We called around to a few communities to get the details about what you can expect in an ‘all utilities included’ apartment.

Here’s what you need to know about apartments with all utilities included:

First of all, ‘all utilities’ should read as ‘all necessary utilities’, namely Gas, electric, water, and sewer.   It virtually never includes cable, phone, or internet. So why do they say ‘all’? Landlords are looking at it as utilities that make the apartment functional and habitable. Cable, phone, and the internet are still considered luxuries, not necessities.

Next, fully expect that you probably will not have full control over the climate of your apartment. Typically, one of the reasons an apartment is “all utilities included” is because the heating or cooling system operates through a building system rather than individual units. So, in the case of DC buildings, often they were built with a central boiler for heat. {You can ID this quickly by the presence of a radiator in your apartment.} When the building turns on the furnace, you will be getting heat in your apartment until the landlord determines the weather is consistently warm enough outside to turn it off.

We’ve seen plenty of complaints and reviews about ‘careless landlords’ because there will be one or two random hot days in March and the building heat is still on…Know that it’s not easy to turn these boilers on and off…so the landlord won’t be inclined to do so until they are entirely sure the warm weather is here to stay. The same is true at the end of the summer/beginning of fall. You may have one frigid night….that doesn’t warrant the boiler getting turned on, especially if the next day temperatures will be back in the high 70’s. So, be ready to adapt old school {open a window, turn on a fan or have some extra blankets}.

Something else to note: many apartments that do offer ‘all utilities included’ may not have central air conditioning. That could mean that you have to buy {and possibly install} your own window unit. The presence or absence of central AC varies from building-to-building, so it’s certainly something you will want to ask about while on tour!

The bonus to an apartment with all utilities included is that with one rent payment, you knock out a bunch of bills. {Even if you still have to pay your internet and phone bill separately}

Equal Housing Opportunity Rental providers will not refuse to rent a rental unit to a person because the person will provide the rental payment, in whole or in part, through a voucher for rental housing assistance provided by the District or federal government. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

About The Author


Not one to settle for status quo, Holli has spent her 20 year career shaking up the multifamily industry. From creating unheard of building amenities to designing lounge-like leasing centers, to major Pinterest fails in the kitchen, she is ever experimenting. It’s no surprise that she created a new way to match apartment renters with their perfect home. Holli is a featured speaker and session facilitator at regional and national industry conferences. When she’s not brainstorming the next marketing campaign, you can find Holli testing the limits of bottomless brunch or climbing the Peloton Leaderboard!

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