A huge number of people are renting these days for convenience and lower cost, but a common question new renters have is whether Wi-Fi is actually included in the rent they pay. Is there a set yes or no answer to this question? Is Wi-Fi always included in the rent?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a definite answer to this question, because the scenarios in which people rent are so different that we can’t give a one size fits all answer. It depends on how and where you are renting.
Here is a bottom line summary answer to the question:
Wi-Fi is usually included when renting rooms in shared housing and student accommodation, but often not in individually rented apartments and houses where you are renting the entire property on your own from a private landlord. Some larger property companies may include Wi-Fi. When installed but not included, Wi-Fi typically costs an extra $ 5-20 per month.
A large part of what drives how Wi-Fi is handled with rental contracts is the minimum terms internet companies themselves impose on their own broadband contracts, which usually lock the person who signed them into a minimum term. ISPs typically do not allow the transfer of these contracts to someone else, which reduces flexibility in scenarios where people are moving around a lot and cannot commit to long term contracts.
Nevertheless, let’s break the issue down in more detail, examining the different possible rental scenarios in more detail, and look at whether Wi-Fi is typically included in the rent in each case.
Wi-Fi Is Usually Included in Rented Rooms in Shared Houses
This is a common renting scenario – where you are simply renting a single room in a shared house with a couple of other people, with a common kitchen and living space, common with students and younger working people. Wi-Fi is almost always included in the rent in these shared house cases, and it will usually be stated on the advert.
The landlord often pays for the internet, and just includes the cost in the overall rent they charge to each person. It saves on messing about setting up new contracts because people come and go so often in these scenarios.
In some cases where a particular tenant has special need for their own internet connection alongside the existing shared one, they may be able to get permission from the landlord to have an extra internet line installed, but the tenant themselves would obviously be liable for the costs for this, and the contract would be in their name. But standard Wi-Fi is almost always included in the rent when you are sharing with others.
There may be some rare cases when internet is installed in a shared rented space, but is not technically included in the rent, but split separately between the tenants. In these cases, the extra monthly cost would not usually be much – anything between £/$ 5-20 per month per tenant for the Wi-Fi, depending on the number of tenants overall cost of the package installed. Most times in shared spaces though, your Wi-Fi is covered in the rent and you’re good to go.
If you’re renting a room in a shared living space with others, then Wi-Fi is almost always included
Exception – An exception to this may be if you have a larger house that has been broken up into several distinct separate self contained apartments. There may be a shared kitchen only, or each apartment may also have it’s own kitchen and therefore there is little or no shared space; perhaps just an entrance hallway that leads to each apartment.
This situation is more mixed. Sometimes, for convenience, the landlord may have a Wi-Fi router installed in the entrance area, and simply allow that connection to be shared between all the different apartments, and include the cost in the rent each tenant pays. This is probably the best approach nowadays. Sometimes it may be installed but not included – subject to an extra monthly fee like mentioned just above.
Other times though, a router may not be installed, in which case each individual apartment would need to have their own internet connection installed, and pay for it themselves. This is less cost effective, but allows each individual apartment to have their own private internet connection if they want it.
If you’re renting in this kind of scenario, you’d have to speak to the individual landlord about whether Wi-Fi is included, and ask about having a single router installed that everyone can use, as it’s usually the best way to do it versus having every single tenant pay their own installation/activation and monthly fees.
Wi-Fi is Not Usually Included in Rented Apartments & Houses
Let’s cover the slightly different scenario of renting either a whole apartment by yourself in a larger apartment block, or an entire house by yourself or with a partner, but not sharing with others. In these cases, Wi-Fi is sometimes NOT included in the rent, and you have to pay for an internet connection yourself.
There may be some exceptions to this where the landlord has an router already installed and just includes the cost in the rent, or charges a small extra fee per month, but these are less common in cases when you’re renting an entire space by yourself and not sharing with others. You are usually responsible for installing your own internet and paying monthly fees.
Update – I have been checking some apartment and house rental sites, and many bigger rental companies ARE now including high speed internet and Wi-Fi access in their amenities list, but usually at an extra charge (rarely free). So perhaps if you are renting from a larger company with many properties, you have more chance of having Wi-Fi included. It’s more when you are renting from smaller companies and private individual landlords that Wi-Fi may not be installed or included in individual rented spaces.
Some larger modern apartment blocks may include Wi-Fi at an extra cost, but not when usually renting places from smaller companies and individuals
One reason for Wi-Fi not always being included is the contracts that many internet providers tie customers into, often with a minimum term, which make it difficult to get out of them if you want to move before the term is up.
Also the space may have been empty for a while before you move in, and an owner/landlord usually isn’t going to pay to keep an internet package running in an empty rental space. The new tenant usually has to set up a new internet connection when they move in. In rare cases, when an owner is confident they can keep good occupancy rates, they may pay for the internet themselves and include it, but you can not usually count on this when renting entire spaces by yourself.
When moving, you can sometimes switch your internet account to another property, usually with additional admin fees charged, but ISPs almost always don’t let you switch the account from an outgoing tenant to an incoming one in a whole rented house or apartment. The incoming tenant has to pay to set up another account themself, and and is responsible for monthly costs from then on.
For renters stuck in this scenario that need internet but prefer NOT to be locked into a minimum term contract that they’d have to pay a lot to get out of if they wanted to move early, then check out this excellent search tool for different internet packages in the USA (click the links for search tools for UK, Canada and Australia).
Click the blue Filter button and go to Advanced – you can search for internet deals that do not have a minimum contract, so you’re not locked in. Installation and monthly costs may be higher though for these more flexible packages.
Tip – If you do need to get a new line installed in a new place, look around the property for any existing previous lines/access panels that may have been installed, but cut off (eg. Comcast, BT, Verizon etc). If a certain ISP has been there before, it’s usually easier and cheaper to reconnect the line by going with that provider again, rather than starting over with a new provider that hasn’t been there before.
Wi-Fi is Usually Included in Student Accommodation
Let’s cover another common scenario of students renting a room in an official halls of residence type place, on or close to a university campus (we already covered the shared private house scenario above).
In these cases, again Wi-Fi is almost always included in the rent you pay, since these places are wise to the fact that young people all need internet now, and will never not have it installed.
What usually happens here is that the entire building is usually split into separate residences, with each residence having it’s own entrance and split into anything between 4-8 individually rented rooms. There is usually a shared kitchen and sometimes a shared living space.
Each apartment/residence will usually have it’s own Wi-Fi router, with it’s own password, and all the tenants in that particular apartment will share that Wi-Fi access point. You’re almost always NOT allowed to install your own internet in these places; you need to be renting privately and get permission from the landlord to do that.
In rare cases where Wi-Fi is not included in student digs, there will again be a small extra charge per month, probably not more than $10-20, but most student places will be including Wi-Fi in the rent these days to make things simpler. In any event, it will state clearly on any adverts and websites for student halls whether Wi-Fi is included or not.
Alternatives to Having Internet Installed in Rented Spaces
If you find that Wi-Fi is not included in the place you’re renting, and you need to have your own internet installed, then you’ll find the costs to get started can often be very high. Installation costs can be the real killer – they can often run into a hundred dollars or more if a line hasn’t been installed there before – and internet providers also often charge activation and equipment fees, on top of the monthly package fees.
In other words, it can cost a lot of money to get internet in a place that doesn’t already have it, which can be too much for some people initially when they first move in.
In these cases, let’s list some alternative ways to get internet access if having your own internet set up is too much initially:
- Ask neighbors – especially in apartment blocks, you might have a friendly neighbor who’ll let you use their Wi-Fi password for a while until you get your own internet set up.
- Use phone data – Can work for basic stuff like emails, but remember that phone data is usually capped, and so if you’re doing this too much, you may run out of data. However, buying a little bit of extra data per month temporarily can easily be cheaper than having an expensive internet line installed in many cases.
- Use Wi-Fi Hotspots – Can also be a temporary solution to turn Wi-Fi on on your phone and tether to a nearby Hotspot, but many companies require you to be an active customer to do this, plus Hotspot data is usually limited (we cover this here). However, can work short term.
- Public Wi-Fi – Use the free Wi-Fi in bars, cafes, libraries and so on. Public libraries also have computers you can use.
Rental Sites Which Specify Whether Wi-Fi is Included
Let’s give readers options of some rental websites and search engines that will always specify on adverts whether Wi-Fi is included in the property and/or the rent.
- Renting Apartments & Houses – Rent.com and Apartments.com (Wi-Fi actually included in a lot of properties). Smaller companies and private landlords Wi-Fi may not be included.
- Renting rooms – Spareroom, Roomgo and Kangaroom (ads always specify whether Wi-Fi included). These sites are also available in other countries like the UK.
Best Practices For Renting & Internet Fees
Here are some best practices when renting and dealing with extra costs such as Wi-Fi/internet access:
- When using rental websites, always take screenshots of adverts. If it says Wi-Fi is included and you find it isn’t, hold them to it.
- When asking about Wi-Fi be careful to differentiate whether it’s not installed at all (you need to set it up yourself), or it is installed but just not included (there’s an extra charge to use it). It’s when it’s not installed at all that it can be more expensive to get access. If it’s stated as free then you’re good to go.
- Also carefully check any rental contracts you are given to sign, to make sure what is included and what is not. If you were promised verbally and through adverts that Wi-Fi is included in the rent, make sure this is specified in the contract, and make sure you’ve got screenshots of ads to confirm.
- Where it makes sense and they’re approachable, ask your landlord about installing a single router in shared accommodation and including it in the rent where it would be better than individual apartments in a building paying for their own connection. They may never have thought of doing this or not got round to it, so bring it up if it’s possible.
- If you are in shared housing with a shared Wi-Fi router, but the connection is slow because of the number of users and demand, then ask the landlord about upgrading your internet service. Sometimes, you’ll find it doesn’t actually cost that much extra per month to move to a much better package from the same provider, and they might be willing to do it if it keeps everyone happy.