After years of writing this blog I am constantly surprised at how many major topics within the sphere of rental housing I’ve yet to address. This past week thoughts of fire safety have been on the mind of many people around the world after global news coverage of the April 15 fires at Notre Dame de Paris and Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque. While I’ve touched on the idea of fire hazards in rental housing in several articles before, I’ve never dedicated an entire article to it. So let’s do that today.
Fire Statistics for Chicago Apartments
Since the Chicago Fire Department doesn’t make public its data on outcalls per year it is very tough to ascertain how many fires occur in the city each year, how many of them occur at residences, and whether or not your own building has been the site of a fire in recent memory. However, “tough to ascertain” never stopped me, so I’ve done what I can to figure out some estimates. Continue reading Spotting Fire Hazards in Apartment Buildings (and How to Get Them Fixed)
It’s building vs. building in the battle of the century! Well, maybe not the century. Maybe not even the week. But we are putting similar apartment buildings up against each other today seeking those tiny details that can tell us which one might offer the better renting experience.
Continue reading Building Battle: Which One is Better?
Today we’re going to look at five screenshots of apartment ads that I found on Craigslist. I am 99% certain that all five of them are scams. I found all five within about 10 minutes by searching for rentals under $800 in the city of Chicago. For each one I will point out why I think it’s a scam so that you can have a list of red flags to keep in your mind for future reference.
I flagged all five of these as scams and most have been removed already. If you ever find a scam ad on Craigslist you should also consider flagging it by checking the “Prohibited” box at the top so that others don’t wind up wasting money or time.
Continue reading Anatomy of a Scam Apartment Listing
I’m returning to the Chicago newspaper archives this week for another look at classified ads placed by landlords at different points in the city’s history. The first installment of this series ran in December covering the earliest decades, starting with some of the very first issues of the newspaper in April of 1849 through April of 1871, just six months before the great Fire. This week we’ll be moving forward in time, starting with the fire and up through the end of the 19th century.
As with the first article I have tried to transcribe the ads verbatim, with all their old-fashioned abbreviations and language. It is worth repeating that the Tribune archives held by the Chicago Public Library are scans, with blurry sections, curved pages and portions that are completely obscured by bleed through text or torn pages.
Continue reading Classified History: Housing Ads in Chicago 1871-1900
Renters tend to approach apartment hunting as an exercise for the eyes only, without involving the other four senses. If it’s a loud building the ears may get involved, but taste, touch and smell rarely come into the process. It’s generally unacceptable to go licking or pawing at the walls or furniture in an occupied apartment, but an apartment seeker can benefit greatly by sniffing around in every building lobby, hallway and apartment they visit on their showing tours.
Today we’ll be explaining the significance of the odors that renters may encounter in their search for new housing. Continue reading Nosing Around: Apartment Odors and What they Mean for Renters