New Rental Laws for 2020: Illinois, Cook County and Chicago

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This is now the third year in a row that we’ve led off with a list of all the new laws that took effect on January 1 that might be of interest to renters and people in the rental industry. Make sure to share it with those you know in the multifamily industry throughout Chicago and Cook County. Note that some of these are applicable only to commercial rentals, but since they make up a huge portion of the rental industry of this area we’re including them as well.

Illinois

As always this is only a partial list of the many laws that took effect on January 1, 2020. We’ve culled it down to just the laws we feel are pertinent to renters, landlords or leasing professionals. You can view a full list of all the new laws that took effect on January 1 in Illinois here.
Continue reading New Rental Laws for 2020: Illinois, Cook County and Chicago

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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.

Applying for Apartments in Chicago and Cook County in 2020

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If you’re a renter applying for an apartment anywhere within Cook County in 2020 the process is going to be a little different than it has been in previous years. It will probably take longer than it has before, it will be in two steps, and for the first few months of the year it’s going to be absolute mayhem. This is not only going to be the case for Chicago but for all of Cook County, including suburbs like Evanston, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Berwyn and Oak Park. And for once, it isn’t just going to be the big landlords who have to change how they operate, but every single landlord in the county.

I talked a little about the Just Housing Amendment back in September but there have been some changes following disputes over how it is to be implemented from the landlord lobby. Continue reading Applying for Apartments in Chicago and Cook County in 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 Best Tenant Victories of 2019

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Normally when I run the “Naughtiest Landlords” list each December I include a list of the nicest landlords of the year as a counterpoint. Modern trends in news media including the elimination of local papers and the tendency of modern social media to boost signals only for high-conflict situations have made it progressively more difficult to find coverage worthy of inclusion in the “nicest” section of the list. After four years of trying, I’m deeming it an impossibility this year. But I do want to have some sort of happy counterpoint to last week’s rogues gallery so this week I am instead offering a list of courtroom victories from the past year where tenants triumphed over truly atrocious landlords.

While this doesn’t serve as an adequate replacement in our ongoing attempt to prove that the average landlord operates with good intentions, it does hopefully provide an uplifting counterpoint reminding those in tough rental circumstances that sometimes the little guy can win one. Continue reading The Best Tenant Victories of 2019

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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 Naughtiest Landlords of 2019

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With Christmas right around the corner it’s time once again for our annual list of the worst landlords in the business as found in newspapers from across the country this year. We’ll hopefully have the “nicest landlords” list next week, but in the modern news culture of focusing on the bad in the world the latter stories are much, much harder to track down.

This is the fifth anniversary of the naughtiest landlords list so you guys know what to expect. Without further ado, here’s the folks who are getting coal in their stockings. Let’s hope they use it to heat their properties. Continue reading The Naughtiest Landlords of 2019

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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 Rise and Fall of Chicago’s Courtyard Apartment Buildings

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If you’ve rented in Chicago for very long you’ve probably lived in a courtyard apartment building. If not, you’ve probably at least visited someone who lives in one. There’s thousands of them all throughout the city, with the exception of the downtown areas which are dominated by skyscrapers. A standard “U”-shaped courtyard building is a three story tall walkup building with five entrances surrounding a central green space. Each entrance usually has six apartments, sometimes seven or eight if there’s finished basement apartments.

In addition to the standard U shape, there’s also half courtyards (shaped like an “L”), 1.5 courtyards (shaped like an “S” and usually on block corners) and double courtyards (shaped like a “W”), but they’re all basically similar. These buildings are unique to the Chicago area and almost invariably about 100 years old.

Today we’re going to explore the reason why we’ve got so many of them, and also why we don’t see many new ones popping up in the 21st century landscape. Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s Courtyard Apartment Buildings

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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.