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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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.

Complaints, Campaigns and Conspicuous Flaws: Chicago’s 311 Calls by Category

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For the past two articles I’ve been looking at Chicago’s 311 non-emergency service hotline data from the past year with a focus on snow removal complaints. But that is only one of 96 separate categories used by 311 to sort the many calls they receive in a year. Today I pulled a list of all of the complaints from December 6, 2018 through December 6, 2019. I then grouped them by rough umbrella categories and added up the calls within each category to see the types of things that will spur Chicago residents to pick up the phone (or open an app) and file a complaint with the city. Continue reading Complaints, Campaigns and Conspicuous Flaws: Chicago’s 311 Calls by Category

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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.

Mapping 311, Part 2: Chicago’s Worst Shoveling Scofflaws

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There’s a part two! Of course there’s a part two. I wouldn’t crack open a resource like the one I used last week and just dip a toe in. If I’m going in, I’m going for the deep dive.

Returning readers will know that last week I did a trial run of some new mapping software to plot out snow removal complaints received by Chicago’s 311 non-emergency reporting service since the start of October. But the available information in the source I used actually goes back to December 18, 2018. Now that I am more comfortable with using Leaflet it’s time to dig a little deeper through that data.

Single reports across two snowstorms are great and interesting but with a full year of data we can look for trouble spots that pop up over and over. After all, missing one snowstorm worth of shoveling isn’t all that bad. We’ve all done it now and then. But failing to shovel for an entire winter is just plain rude.

It’s time to find out which of those reports should actually be points of concern for renters and buyers looking to move to a new area of the city. Today we’ll be culling through the reports in the portal to find the real snow shoveling scofflaws. Continue reading Mapping 311, Part 2: Chicago’s Worst Shoveling Scofflaws

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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.

Mapping Chicago’s Snow Removal Complaints

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I have for many years been waiting for Chicago to make public their data on the complaints received by the 311 department about unshoveled sidewalks. They have finally granted my wish. Unfortunately the data has become available at a time when Google is shutting down their Fusion Tables service, so I had to learn how to use a new service to create the necessary map. Because of course there was going to be a map.

In this article I take a look at the data that has accrued since the start of this past October, meaning we have only two really big snowstorms worth of data to consider. Those two snowstorms yielded about 1200 complaints to 311. I think that is more than enough for now. Continue reading Mapping Chicago’s Snow Removal Complaints

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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.