In my roles as a Realtor and landlord I have come across a lot of information about the ins and outs of renting and owning real estate in Chicago. Anyone who is familiar with the city shouldn’t be surprised that it’s a lot more complicated here than in most of the country. I am going to give updates like this on a regular basis so my readers can be aware of some of the more important/interesting rules that exist here.
I want to make absolutely sure that everyone knows I am not a lawyer. If you have questions about any of this that have to be answered accurately, use the information here as a starting point in your discussions with a real estate attorney.
Now, on to the (hopefully not too boring) bullet points about Chicago renting:
1. Craigslist has become the most-used way to advertise units these days. If you are going to search for a unit, it is an ok place to start. Of course, having a realtor help your search is the optimal way to expand your possibilities.
2. Housing projects are frequently being replaced with housing choice vouchers. This is interesting because it means that we are seeing a fundamental shift in low-income housing markets.
3. The Chicago Landlord/Tenant Ordinance is very strict in a relative sense to other municipalities. Renters need to read and understand the summary that they receive from their Landlord.
4. Tenants in Chicago are required to keep their units reasonably clean. You don’t want to be evicted because you couldn’t be bothered clean the oven or take the trash out. An eviction will stay on your record for 7 years and cause a lot of pain in your housing search. Also, if your floor lamp tips over, don’t just leave it on the ground and continue to turn it on and off using your light switch. Yes, that last point is directed at one specific person. You know who you are.
5. Chicago heating season is September 15th to June 1st. During this time landlords are required to keep units at least 68 deg. F.
6. Property Managers may not waive city ordinance requiring interest paid on security deposits for leases that are 6 months or longer. So, you know, you can throw an awesome party with the 25 cent check you get each year (at current rates).
7. Current market analysis: apartments (especially in the loop) are in very high demand and rents are going up. If you want to live in an apartment for a while, it might be a good idea to sign longer-term lease and avoid increases between leases.
8. Any illegal drug use in an apartment can result in eviction.
9. Property Managers can be allowed to have a policy limiting occupancy per bedroom. If you live in a studio and your fiance is going to move in, check that it’s allowed by your lease.
10. A tenant cannot be evicted on a holiday or if the temperature is below 17 deg. Fahrenheit.
Feel free to hit me up with any other real estate information you might want in future 10 Real Estate Necessities posts.
Live well, Chicago.