Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Efficiency Apartments For Rent

April 23, 2013

Mark asks…

How much is the average utility bill?

I have an option to rent a 2-3 bedroom house for 1200 plus utilities, or an apartment in someones house for 1200 utilities included. I have never paid utilities. How much is the average bill. (Water,oil, electric etc…)
The house is very small, and there is no central air. Its a little starter house.
it is just me and a little one.

Administrator answers:

Depends on where you live, the square footage of the house, how well it holds in AC or Heat and how well it keeps out the elements. Need more info please. Also depends on the efficiency of the AC unit and such, if you’re talking about central air. Also, what temp do you keep your current place at?

I wish that I could help you with this but I live in FL where central air is a necessity. It makes a huge difference in your bills. Just to give you a comparison….I have a 2/2 1200 sq ft under air, we just bought all new energy efficient appliances (water heater, AC, frigde, stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer), we use the dishwasher and the washing machine/dryer daily and we keep the house at 77 degrees. Our electric bills (which includes sewer, water, and trash) runs about $200/mo and our cable/phone/internet is $150/mo

Nancy asks…

where is the cheapest possible place I could live while having all the bare essentials?

I would need a toilet, shower, space for a bed, kitchen, and a small entertainment area for computer and tv. Just all the bare basic things.

Would a mobile home be a good idea? I’ve looked into the tiny house movement, but some of those houses are very expensive for the size.

Or would it be cheapest just to rent a small 1 bedroom or utillity apartment?

Administrator answers:

An efficiency or studio apt is the best, try looking around a college town

unless you can find a roommate to share the rent

Ken asks…

how much does it cost to live somewhere in tampa, preferably near the university of south florida?

i’m considering transfering to usf, but i might have to pay all of my expenses, including tuition, since my parents will only pay as long as i continue to obey them mindlessly. so i’m working on figuring out how much it would cost each month to live in tampa. what would be the lowest possible rent i could find for a halfway decent place?

Administrator answers:

Here is the link for the USF housing website: You can get an idea for the type of apartments and dorms available, and can see the prices. On campus dorms can get a bit costly considering what you get for the money, but you don’t have to pay for utilities, and you don’t have to commute, so you save there. The cheapest dorms are as low as $380 and no higher than $750. (Prices might have gone up a bit recently, but not by much I’m sure)

Off Campus student housing is horrible. Roommates are messy, units are in poor condition due to high turnover, and the staff generally does not care because if you leave, there will be 5 people ready to take your place. Crime rates in student housing are high. I visited a complex called the Point once, and there was a gunfight in the parking lot (I mean multiple people shooting at each other)
If you are willing to put up with these conditions, then off campus housing isn’t a bad deal. You can get your own room with your own bathroom, a shared furnished kitchen, and a shared, furnished living room, for between $400 – $600 per month.

You might want to consider non student housing too. There is a large, disadvantaged neighborhood West of campus. If you don’t mind living in the projects, you can find very cheap efficiencies there. If you’d rather live in a nicer area, I’d suggest some of the apartment complexes and housing developments on the North end of Fowler and Fletcher. I lived in an apartment complex for example, that I shared with roommates. My boyfriend and I rented a two bathroom, two bedroom 2 story apartment with washers and dryers for $1,100 per month. That includes utilities. We each paid less than $300 per month for everything.

Your best bet is to live on-campus in order to meet people, and then find an off campus apartment to share. You might be able to find room mates through websites like, or Look for adds in the student newspaper, the oracle: If you have the time, I would suggest you plan a visit to campus as soon as possible. Here is the tour guide list: Plan to visit some of the off campus apartments in the area as well

By the way, most scholarships can be applied to housing, room and board. If you live on campus, USF will even give you a deferral and pay your housing out of leftover scholarship and loan funds.

Good Luck

Donna asks…

how much does an apartment actually cost? are there always utility bills?

im looking to ether rent a house or apartment but how much do they actually cost if they say it costs $600/month is there also utilities to pay as well? how does it usually work?

Administrator answers:

Some states are higher cost than others and you didn’t say where you live. But you can look on or and get an idea of how much an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment costs. Tripple that cost and that’s how much you should have in hand when you go to the office to ask for an application for an apartment. Yes you’d pay utilities, usually electric (plus deposit) and sometimes water. Go pick up a book of apartments at your local grocery store (they should have them out on the racks out in front) and scan thru it looking for what amenities each complex offers and where it’s location is. Sure you’d need a car for most places you’d rent so as to get around, get to work, shop, etc. In addition to an apartment you’d need to figure in your own budget like you’d need groceries, might need draperies, furniture, a bed and linens and towels and the like but a phone too (or use your cell phone).

Michael asks…

What is the average water and electric bill for 3 bedroom apartment in Florida?

I know it is hard to give an exact amount, but based on an average what would you think.

Our air is usually on 80 all the time and we run the washer and dryer maybe 2 times a week.

Administrator answers:

All I can tell you is how to reduce your bill. My highest was $65 in a 2-bedroom but that was several years ago. I pay $35 now but I’m in an efficiency. If you’re looking to decrease the cost of electric then you’d need to put insulation around your doors and also windows and have insulated draperies, turn off the computer when not in use, unplug everything from the wall when not in use, use the washer and dryer at the laundromat instead of in the apartment, don’t bake but instead use only the burners or the microwave, reduce the heat on your water heater, don’t use the dishwasher. Fans take up less electricity than the central air so a lot of homes have the overhead fan. I just have 4 fans that I alternate with along with using the central air when there is the need to get good circulation. My ac turns on when it reaches 85 degrees. Some 40 watt light bulbs run hot so I use those on the somewhat cold days to heat the room as well as on cold days to take the chill off..

The water bill is included in my rent.

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