Back in the 60’s & early 70’s, seeing apartments in Houston with signs and banners advertising their rental prices along with the words “All Bills Paid” (ABP) or “Utilities Included” was commonplace. These days however, apartments that still boast of such deals are few and far between.
If I had to guess as to why the change, I’d suppose the main reason probably was it just started getting too expensive for apartment owners. They saw electric prices steadily soar from only $.02-$.04 cents per kilowatt hour from the 60’s thru the early 80’s up to $.12 cents and higher in the following three decades.
Also, it’s a fact that most tenants knowing that their electric and water are “on the house,” they tend not to be too concerned about conserving energy…you know like letting the a/c run all day and not turning off lights when not needed.
I remember as a kid growing up in my parents’ house that it was ‘law’ to turn off the lights and if I ever forgot, I’d get the same lecture that always started with, “do you know how much money it cost to run the lights… It’s not free little man”
With this in mind, in 1973 the Texas legislature passed a law that there could be no more “All Bills Paid” apartments. This was because of the oil embargo and energy crisis that was going on. Some properties that were already ABP were grandfathered so they could stay ABP. This is why you never find ABP properties built after 1973.
Also in the early 2000’s the legislature mandated that properties had to charge for water and that’s why most apartments charge for water now.
With all that said, believe it or not, there are still a few apartments in the Houston and surrounding areas that include all utilities. My recent count that include both water and electric is 24 complexes (three of which are in the Galleria area) and 9 others with the free electric but not the free water.
Their rent prices vary depending on location but many are actually very reasonable. For example, the three above mentioned complexes in the Galleria area start at only $705 for 1bd, $925 for 2bd, $1,225 for 3bd & $1,685 for 4 bd.
For a list of these rare Houston apartments still offering No Electric Bills, some with No Water Bills also, contact a good reputable Houston Apartment Locator who knows about these and other great apartment deals in general.