Renting a House in America: Average Rents, Process and Everything!

Renting a house in USA

If you are thinking about moving to the United States, accommodation is probably one of the most important things on your mind. To feel at home in a new place and have a private space, the first step is to rent a safe place to live. 

In today's content, we will be covering everything you need to know about renting a house in America. We have compiled all the details for you, from average rental prices to the rental process and the important points you should pay attention to. So you will be ready to rent a house in the USA in 2024. 

What You Need to Know Before Renting a Home in the US in 2024

Renting a home in the US as a foreigner who has recently moved to the US is not fundamentally very different from a US citizen. You usually sign a lease, which guarantees that you will be able to stay in the home for a certain period of time (usually one year) in exchange for a set rental price.

According to the BLS survey conducted in 2022, more than half (59.6%) of US renters rent their homes for 12 months (1 year). After 12-month leases, the next most preferred term is monthly leases, at around 32%.

The main difference for foreigners renting in the US is that there may be a bit more paperwork. 

Because you will not have a credit history and associated credit score in the US, landlords may be hesitant to rent to you. You may be asked to provide documentation of your international credit history. They may also require a higher deposit.

As in Turkey, the deposit is an amount that landlords take as security against non-payment of rent, breach of contract, damage to the apartment, etc. As long as you abide by the contract, this deposit is paid back to you when you move out.

Note: The amount of deposit a landlord can require varies depending on your state, and some states have a legal cap. Be sure to check your state's laws before renting a home in the US. 

Apartment Types in the USA

Another important thing to consider when renting a home in the US is the different types of homes and the advantages they offer. The type of accommodation preferred by first-time renters in the US is usually apartments. It is possible to divide apartments in the USA into two types: Condos and Condo apartments. 

Condos are usually located in a building owned by a single property owner. In the case of condos, each apartment in the building has a separate owner. Both types of apartments have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Apartments

In apartment buildings, rent is paid to a single building owner. In well-managed apartments, internet portals can be used to pay rent and submit repair requests. This usually means less hassle with your landlord. However, as the landlord in such buildings has many tenants, rent is likely to increase each year and repairs may be delayed.

Condo Apartments

In Condo apartments, each apartment belongs to a separate person. The rent is paid to the owner and the owners are responsible for their own apartments. This means that you have to communicate more with the landlord. Landlords can be very selective about their tenants. However, tenants are more important to the landlord. Rent increases may not happen every year, and repairs may be carried out more quickly and willingly.

Other Housing Types in the US

For those who want to consider different types of housing, there are also different rental housing options for every budget in America:

  • Detached houses.
  • Mobile (portable) homes.
  • Shared housing in a house or apartment (one room with a shared kitchen, bathroom and sometimes a living area).
  • Apartment-like buildings with small rooms. 

Renting a House in America

The process of renting a house in America is similar to the process in Turkey. However, there are some important differences. You can use websites, real estate agents or local advertisements to find a house for rent. 

You may also be asked for a passport, employment contract, proof of income and references from previous landlords. The rental agreement covers monthly rent, deposit, late fees, lease term, termination terms, invoices, rights and responsibilities. You may also need to take out tenant insurance. 

In 2024, let's examine together all the steps of the process of renting a house in America.

How to Find a House for Rent in America?

When looking for a house in the US, you can either work with a real estate agent or find a house on your own. If you want to find a house yourself, you can look on websites like Zillow, local listings and social media groups. While it may cost less to find your own home, it may take longer and may expose you to scammers.

Working with a real estate agent can save you time, especially in places like New York or San Francisco where finding a home can be difficult. You are also less likely to run into scammers. 

Once you have found the house you like in America, you can now move on to the rental process. 

Documents Required When Renting a House in America

Once you find the home you like, you will usually need to fill out an application form. You will have to pay a fee of $20 to $100 for the application form using a personal check, cashier's check or money order, but most of the time this application fee will be refunded.

When making your application, the landlord may ask you for documents such as

  • Passport
  • Employment contract
  • Proof of income (such as bank statements)
  • Social Security Number (if available)
  • Testimonials from previous hosts

Note: Since you will not have an American credit score when you first arrive in the US, your landlord cannot rely on it to assess your ability to pay rent. So be prepared to show your international credit score and employment contract, and in some cases even pay a higher deposit.

If your housing application is approved, you can now move on to signing the rental contract.

Entering into a Lease Agreement in the United States

While the details of the agreement you sign will vary by state and landlord, most rental agreements usually cover the following basics:

  • Monthly Rent: The amount you pay each month to live in the home. Make sure you understand the due date and acceptable payment methods.
  • Security Deposit: The initial amount you pay as a security deposit. Be clear about the deposit amount, refund terms and timeline.
  • Late Rent Penalties: Learn about the consequences of late rent payments, such as late fees or possible eviction proceedings.
  • Lease Term: The period for which you will rent the property. Understand the start and end dates of the lease.
  • Early Termination: Learn about the options and possible penalties for terminating the contract before the agreed term.
  • Bills: Determine who is responsible for paying for utilities such as water, electricity, natural gas and garbage disposal.
  • Tenant Rights and Responsibilities: Understand your rights as a tenant, including the right to a habitable space and the responsibility to comply with the terms of the lease.
  • Landlord's Responsibilities: Clearly define the landlord's obligations in the maintenance and repairs of the property.
  • Tenant Insurance: Many landlords require you to take out renters insurance. This usually covers things like natural disasters and theft. You can buy your own policy or sometimes you can buy it through the landlord.

What to Consider When Renting a House in America?

As in every country, there are points to consider when renting a house in America:

  • Read the rental agreement carefully. Lease agreements can sometimes contain illegal clauses, so it is a good idea to have someone knowledgeable about renting in the US look over your contract. 
  • Before you move in, check with the landlord or staff to check all appliances and fixtures. Sign a form stating any existing damage so that these costs will not be deducted from your deposit later.
  • Research the crime rates of the area you intend to move to. Check the safety of your area by looking at crime density maps and, if possible, walk around the neighborhood. 
  • If you have a car, find out if there is parking and if this is included in the rent.
  • If you have pets, find out if the landlord allows pets and if there are any restrictions.
  • Never pay for a property without seeing the inside.
  • See if your contract includes move-in and move-out fees, which are required by some landlords in the US. 

What is the Average House Rent in America?

Renting a house in America is quite affordable. Generally, house rents are equivalent to 30% of one's salary. The average house rent in the US is $1,515 in 2024. In addition, the type of housing chosen also affects the rent you will pay. 

Apartment TypeAverage RentAverage Square Meters
Studio Apartment1,527$/month43 m²
One Bedroom1,515$/month64 m²
Two Bedroom1,766$/month92 m²
Three Bedroom2,171$/month119 m²
Source: Apartments.com

Average Rents in the States of America 

The difference in rental prices in the United States is influenced by differences in hourly minimum wages between states and the cost of living. In addition, states with higher costs may have more employment opportunities, which increases demand and rents in these states.

For example, states with high job opportunities, such as New York and California, have the highest rents in the US. 

StateAverage RentAverage m²
Alabama1,002$/month68 m²
Alaska1,220$/month57 m²
Arizona1,315$/month62 m²
Arkansas$867/month62 m²
California2,093$/month60 m²
Colorado1,596$/month64 m²
Connecticut1,718$/month67 m²
Delaware1,394$/month69 m²
District of Columbia2,234$/month64 m²
Florida1,633$/month67 m²
Georgia1,385$/month71 m²
Hawaii1,787$/month48 m²
Idaho1,297$/month64 m²
Illinois1,549$/month63 m²
Indiana1,032$/month65 m²
Iowa917$/month61 m²
Kansas988$/month65 m²
Kentucky1,003$/month64 m²
Louisiana995$/month65 m²
Maine$1,531/month58 m²
Maryland1,597$/month68 m²
Massachusetts2,422$/month67 m²
Michigan1,062$/month65 m²
Minnesota1,270$/month65 m²
Mississippi$939/month66 m²
Missouri1,051$/month65 m²
Montana1,292$/month58 m²
Nebraska$1,011/month68 m²
Nevada1,299$/month65 m²
New Hampshire1,712$/month62 m²
New Jersey1,945$/month67 m²
New Mexico1,098$/month61 m²
New York2,537$/month58 m²
North Carolina1,300$/month68 m²
North Dakota886$/month64 m²
Ohio997$/month61 m²
Oklahoma849$/month63 m²
Oregon1,423$/month61 m²
Pennsylvania1,430$/month64 m²
Rhode Island1,675$/month67 m²
South Carolina1,322$/month69 m²
South Dakota$941/month63 m²
Tennessee1,289$/month67 m²
Texas1,225$/month66 m²
Utah1,351$/month64 m²
Vermont1,707$/month60 m²
Virginia1,692$/month67 m²
Washington1,752$/month62 m²
West Virginia842$/month60 m²
Wisconsin$1,158/month66 m²
Wyoming1,036$/month61 m²
Source: Apartments.com

Note Rental prices can vary significantly by region within the state.

States with the Highest Rents in America

States with a high cost of living usually also have higher rental prices. This is because housing, food, transportation and other essentials are more expensive in these states. Here are the 5 states with the highest rents in 2024:

QueueStateAverage RentAverage m²
1New York2.537$/month58 m²
2Massachusetts2.422$/month67 m²
3California2.093$/month60 m²
4Hawaii$1,787/month48 m²
5Connecticut$1,718/month67 m²
Source: Apartments.com

States with the Lowest Rents in America

In states with a low cost of living, rental prices are also lower. In these states, basic necessities are cheaper, allowing landlords to charge lower rents. The states with the lowest rents in the US:

QueueStateAverage RentAverage m²
1West Virginia842$/month60 m²
2Oklahoma849$/month63 m²
3Arkansas$867/month62 m²
4Mississippi$939/month66 m²
5North Dakota886$/month64 m²
Source: Apartments.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of rental agreement will I sign when renting a house in the US?

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and your landlord and is usually valid for 1 year. It should cover issues such as the rent, the deposit, the duration of the lease, responsibilities and rights. Make sure you read and understand all the terms carefully before signing the tenancy agreement.

Do I need renter's insurance when renting a house in the US?

Your rental agreement may require you to take out renters' insurance. Renters' insurance is insurance for the apartment you rent. It protects you against fire, flood, theft and other damage. 

Do I need a credit check to rent a house in the US?

Renting a house usually involves a credit check. If you have a bad credit history, the landlord may refuse to rent to you.

How much deposit do I have to pay to rent a house in the US?

The amount of deposit you need to pay in the US varies from state to state and from landlord to landlord. Generally, you will need to pay a deposit equal to one or two months' rent.

Are there hidden costs of renting a home in the US?

When renting a home in the US, in addition to the rental price, there may be costs such as a security deposit, property tax and renter's insurance.

Can I use my foreign passport/ID as proof of identity when renting a home in the US? 

Yes, when renting a house, you can use your passport or ID as proof of identity.

Do I need a US bank account to pay rent in the US? 

You do not need a US bank account to pay rent. You can pay rent by cash, check or money order.

Are there options for temporary or monthly house rentals in the US? 

Yes, some apartments and hostels offer monthly rental options. You can also rent a temporary home in the US using Airbnb. 


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