Gross rent is the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid for by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else). Gross rent is intended to eliminate differentials which result from varying practices with respect to the inclusion of utilities and fuels as part of the rental payment. The estimated costs of utilities and fuels are reported on a yearly basis but are converted to monthly figures for the tabulations. Renter units occupied without payment of cash rent are shown separately as "No cash rent" in the tabulations. Gross rent is calculated on a sample basis.
Data on gross rent have been collected since 1940 for renter-occupied housing units. In 1980, costs for electricity and gas were collected as average monthly costs. In 1990, all utility and fuel costs were collected as yearly costs and divided by 12 to provide an average monthly cost.