Voter Registration and the Census for Chicago Renters Who Will be Moving in March and April of 2020

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The first day of the month is an important one when it comes to deadlines. It’s the day when rent is due. It’s the day when many other bills are due. It’s the day when many renters move into new apartments. It’s also an important day for government deadlines. Over the next two months, Chicago renters making spring moves will come up against two major government deadlines that may turn moving day into a paperwork crunch. These deadlines come at a time when the rental season is ramping up in the city following several slow off-season months.

This year, the last day for online voter registration for the Illinois March 17 primary is February 29. However, the deadline for choosing where you will vote is this coming Monday, February 17, when early voting begins statewide.

Approximately one month later, the US Census Bureau will want to know everyone who is living under your roof on April 1 for the decennial census. For people who are moving, particularly those who are moving across state lines, these two events may mean that you have to make some serious choices with major consequences that could last for years. Today we’ll look at these choices in detail. Continue reading Voter Registration and the Census for Chicago Renters Who Will be Moving in March and April of 2020

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

The Land of the Blind: Are Blogs Misguiding Landlords on How to Set Rent Rates?

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There’s a lot of blogs out there for landlords. Most of them are side projects of businesses selling products to landlords, such as apartment listings, investment services or property management. (This blog is no different, although our target market is tenants rather than landlords.) Given the marked absence of actual landlord training programs, these blogs have come to serve as the main DIY course syllabus for landlords working in the 21st century US housing market. While the content varies from blog to blog, they all have something to say about the big topics.

This week I visited 14 landlord advice blogs to see what they had to say about the biggest topic of all: the factors that landlords should consider when setting rent rates.

I’ve grouped the results by popularity and, of course, I will provide my own take on the matter. Continue reading The Land of the Blind: Are Blogs Misguiding Landlords on How to Set Rent Rates?

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Apartment Hunting for the Newly Single

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If a long term relationship is going to fail, it’s twice as likely to do so during the first three months of a year than at any other point on the calendar. Divorce lawyers structure their schedules around this annual uptick. The reasons behind the surge in collapsing relationships are too muddy and plentiful to get into here. We are of course focusing on the housing-related fallout from these breakups.

Newly single folks frequently need to find new housing, but our brains release chemicals in response to the endings of relationships which can cloud our judgment and make us value things that we would normally ignore. Fortunately there are some common factors discovered in scientific studies of the recently dumped. This means that workarounds exist which may make the process easier and more reliable.

For the purposes of this article I’m defining “newly single” people as those who have experienced the involuntary end of a long-term romantic relationship involving cohabitation within the past two weeks. If you kicked your partner to the curb against their will this is not the article for you, unless you did so because you caught them cheating. Continue reading Apartment Hunting for the Newly Single

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Couches, Curtains and Creepypasta: Using Proxemics to Feel Safer in Your Apartment

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Humans are territorial creatures. There’s a whole branch of scientific study within the field of anthropology which explores just how territorial we are. It’s called “proxemics” and it takes into account how we respond to people touching us, standing close to us, and making noises in our general vicinity. You’ve probably heard of the terms “personal space” and “comfort zone.” Both of those concepts arose out of the study of proxemics.

When we’re forced to live in small apartments or small apartment buildings with strangers our territorial boundaries are challenged. Our instincts in these situations force us into a state of heightened awareness, much closer to the “fight or flight” threshold. We’re more prone to getting into fights and flying off the handle. Today we’ll be using the science of proxemics and a study of common factors in creepypasta/horror stories to help renters choose an apartment that minimizes this sense of perpetual invasion. We’ll also look at ways to arrange your furniture to help minimize conflicts between roommates. Continue reading Couches, Curtains and Creepypasta: Using Proxemics to Feel Safer in Your Apartment

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

The Problems of Package Delivery in Chicago Apartments

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This article was originally going to be “questions to ask your next landlord about package delivery,” but once I got about 2 paragraphs in I realized that it’s a problem that extends far beyond something that landlords can address on their own. So I’m framing it from the perspective of a discussion that Chicago residents and residents of other cities nationwide need to have as a community, involving the US Postal system, landlords, property managers, third party parcel carriers, logistics innovators, and municipal governments.

We’ve stuck our fingers in our ears for too long on the matter of increasing package delivery volume. Today I’m going to simply try and outline the problems we’re facing. Hopefully it will serve as launchpad for discussion, because I’m not really sure of a way forward but I’m also not sure how much longer we can afford to ignore the matter. Continue reading The Problems of Package Delivery in Chicago Apartments

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.