Classified History: Housing Ads in Chicago 1901-1933

Share Button

I’m back with another trawl through the Chicago Tribune archives, looking at classified ads placed for apartments throughout the city’s history. This is the third installment. I’ve previously covered the periods of 1849 – 1870 (Early Days) and 1871 – 1900 (Great Fire and World’s Fair #1). Today we’ll be looking at the era from 1901 to 1933, an era spanning two depressions, the Roaring Twenties, World War I and another World’s Fair. Since the majority of Chicago renters still moved on May 1 during this era I’ll be bouncing from April to April to find the newspaper issues that had the most ads to pick from.

This is the first era we’ve covered where many of the listed buildings may still be standing. The bulk of Chicago’s “vintage” apartment buildings were constructed during these three decades. Continue reading Classified History: Housing Ads in Chicago 1901-1933

Share Button

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 Tropes in Fiction: Myth or Reality?

Share Button

Towards the end of last week’s article I went off on a bit of a rant about the importance of studying apartment life as a reflection of modern culture. Longtime readers will know that I’ll sometimes go back in after an article has launched and add a sentence or two as an afterthought. Last week I added the following sentence: “When a topic so central to the lives of so many people is viewed through the distorted lens of folklore, policies and behaviors arise based on assumptions that are most likely false.”

Tropes are fictional shortcuts. They are used by authors, scriptwriters and playwrights to quickly indicate character traits, setting, or get the plot moving in a particular direction. When it comes to apartments there are tons of tropes. Apartments themselves are a trope used to show that the setting involves young, urban characters who are not all that wealthy and don’t have kids. Today we’re going to look at four common apartment-related tropes and see how they measure up to reality based on my own experience and statistics I’ve been able to dig up. Continue reading Apartment Tropes in Fiction: Myth or Reality?

Share Button

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.

Twitter’s Opinion of Chicago Apartment Hunting

Share Button

In February of 2016 I ran an article where I searched through Twitter to see the adjectives that people used to describe their landlords. As it’s been a while I figured it might be good to go back and see what Twitter has to say about another topic. I’ve actually had this geographically restricted search running for a while now, sitting in my Tweetdeck and building up. The Chicago area Twitterverse has quite a lot to say about apartment hunting, and most of it isn’t good.

Here are the adjectives that were used in posts that mentioned apartment hunting over the course of roughly twelve months, filtered to exclude posts from property managers, agents and landlords.

Appearing Multiple Times
Stressful (5 times)
Difficult (Twice)
Frustrating (Twice)
My least favorite part about living in Chicago (Twice)
Overwhelming (Twice)
The worst (Twice) Continue reading Twitter’s Opinion of Chicago Apartment Hunting

Share Button

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.

RentConfident’s Top Content of 2018

Share Button

It’s that time of year again when bloggers engage in a bit of navel gazing. We jumped on the year-end bandwagon last year and we’re going to do it again this year. You know the drill. We’re going to list the 10 most popular posts in this blog from the past 12 months based on traffic, and then we’re going to throw in a few which we really enjoyed in-house but the rest of the world slept on.

To all of you who have supported us through the year by reading our articles, sharing them, subscribing to our newsletter or, of course, by buying an apartment safety report, thank you! We hope this retrospective is a fun walk down memory lane for you. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Your Favorites

We track our stats using Matomo, which is similar to Google Analytics but it lives entirely on our own servers. We do this because we don’t like sharing our own data with Google and we figure you don’t either. The articles in this list were the ones we published last year that saw the most traffic. They are not the absolute top performers, as those are all from previous years. (If you’re curious, our top two articles are “How to Rat out a Bad Landlord in the City of Chicago” and “Is Your Grill Legal?“, which doesn’t surprise us at all.) Continue reading RentConfident’s Top Content of 2018

Share Button

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.

An Open Letter to House Guests in Chicago Apartments

Share Button

Two years ago we ran an article for renters called “Is Your Apartment Suitable for Hosting Guests?” which uses the same artwork as this one because it’s my birthday this weekend and I didn’t feel like drawing anything new. But there are two sides to a host/guest situation. This is for the other half of the equation.

Before we begin, take this grain of salt and hold it in your hand for the duration. Got it? Good. Let’s go.

Dear House Guests,

So you will be spending a few days living in someone else’s apartment. Maybe you’re visiting family for the holidays. Maybe you’re a tourist staying in an AirBNB. Either way, you are visiting the very small home of someone else who may or may not be present and you have never been in a similar environment before. Your host might be too polite to comment when you’re doing something cringy. Or they might get so annoyed that you never get a second invitation to visit them. So from all of us who live in high density buildings year-round to all of you who do not, here are some pointers to bear in mind so that your host does not earn the wrath of their neighbors and/or landlord. Continue reading An Open Letter to House Guests in Chicago Apartments

Share Button

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.