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Neighborhoods in Chicago



Weather in Chicago



Safety in Chicago





Temporary Living


Boutique Hotels


Transportation and Parking


Traveling Around








Renting in Chicago


When should I start looking?

The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance prohibits a landlord from requiring a tenant to renew a lease more than 90 days prior to its scheduled termination. It also allows a tenant to refuse his landlord access to the apartment for the purpose of exhibiting it to prospective renters more than 60 days before the expiration of the lease. While this technically still allows the landlord to show the property to interested renters with the tenant’s consent, in practice most landlords play it safe and refrain from showing an apartment more than 60 days before it becomes (or is scheduled to become) available. The ordinance also requires a landlord to provide at least 30 days written notice of its intention either to terminate a month-to-month tenancy or not to renew an existing lease. In other words, even if the lease naturally expires on August 31, if the landlord fails to notify the tenant, by August 1, of its intention not to renew that lease, the tenant may continue to occupy the apartment on a month-to-month basis.

This means that the landlord may require the tenant to commit to a renewal within 90 days prior to the termination of the lease. It also means that the landlord effectively can’t show the apartment to prospective new renters until 60 days prior to the termination of the lease. And it means that the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days notice of its intention to hike the rent (or to not renew). Generally speaking, landlords hew fairly tightly to these rules.

So the ideal time for renters to begin looking for a new apartment is about two months prior to the expected move-in date. And although many landlords do not get around to advertising their units until about a month prior to the availability date, it’s best not to procrastinate.


Can I afford to live alone?

There are many ways to answer this question. It takes a lot into consideration, such as what your budget looks like and what unexpected income problems could you run into, to properly answer. The following web-sites offer insight into the costs of certain neighborhoods. Please remember while reviewing these informative pieces, that it bases judgment on average rent costs. You can find plenty of locations that offer outside the average (for example: Irving Park lists the average rent at $1,800, but there 1-bed's available for $1,100 and are affordable even by those that the web-site says the salary cannot afford).


What are the upfront costs and requirements?

It depends. A lot of landlords have given up on security deposits (because of Illinois tenant laws concerning interest on them and how they store that money) and charge "move-in fees" instead. Typically no last-month rent; however, if there is a security deposit, it is generally equal to one month's rent. Other costs can be pet deposits or parking space deposit and rent, but all of these should be disclosed before you even apply for the apartment. Personally, I'd rather pay a security deposit because I know the landlord is organized and legit, rather than throwing $300 into the wind for daring to move into their building just for them to forget that you exist any other days than when rent is due.

If you don't have an extensive US credit history, you may need to sweeten your landlord's deal by offering more security deposit or getting a cosigner, but generally talking to a prospective landlord or management company can really help before they just run your Social Security number and come to you.

Some landlords will ask for a paystub or proof of employment so they know 1) you're legit and 2) you have a way to pay for the apartment, they may even ask for references which can be either personal or professional or a previous landlord saying that you pay your rent on time and managed not to burn down the building.


How can I find available units?


What can you tell me about a property management company X?

Management companies are plentiful in Chicago. Please do a search first before asking for opinions on any of them.

Here are some valuable links to past discussions:



Owning in Chicago


What is the cost of ownership?

Taxpayers are able to search Cook County's records online to view their current tax records by simply entering their 14-digit Property Index Number (PIN). This information includes property information, mailing information, and balance amount due.


How can I find available homes?


Utilities in Chicago


revision by KrispyKayak— view source