Spotting Fire Hazards in Apartment Buildings (and How to Get Them Fixed)

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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)

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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.

Building Battle: Which One is Better?

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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?
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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.

Anatomy of a Scam Apartment Listing

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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
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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.

How to Find an Apartment without a Social Security Number

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I am trying to use simpler English for this article. I hope that this will make it easy for machine translators to convert the text correctly. I apologize that I am not able to translate it myself. To my English-speaking readers: the language I use here may seem a little strange. Machine translators read language in a different way than humans do.

We have posted six parts of this series for “unprotected minorities”. You can find links to the other parts at the end. This time I want to speak to renters who do not have social security numbers. Most U.S. citizens have a social security number. Many new immigrants and international students do not have these numbers.

The laws of the United States protect many people from being refused housing based on the things they cannot control. These things include their race, their religion, their age, their children and their disabilities. But the country’s laws do not protect people from being refused housing based on their immigration status. Some states have laws that do protect people based on their immigration status. Illinois does not have this sort of law.

Landlords like to check the history of tenants who want to live in their apartments. But many people have the same first name and last name. Landlords use the social security number to make sure that they are not reading the history of another person with the same name. They must use another company to look up the history. It is possible to use other numbers to identify a renter. But the history research companies do not always allow landlords to use other numbers. When a landlord cannot find the history of a renter they become fearful of the renter. They may turn down the renter. If you do not have a social security number you must learn how to find a landlord who will not be fearful of you.

I was a real estate agent for many years. I worked with many renters who did not have social security numbers. In this article I will tell you what I have learned from this work. Continue reading How to Find an Apartment without a Social Security Number

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Nosing Around: Apartment Odors and What they Mean for Renters

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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

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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.