10 Great New Year’s Resolutions To Make Apartment Life Easier

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We're coming up on the start of a new year! For many of you, this means it's time to make some changes and improvements in your life in the form of New Year's Resolutions. We know first hand from our reports that some landlords can be really awful, but we also know that some renters unwittingly make their living situations worse without realizing it. Here are some suggestions for how to make your apartment life run more smoothly in 2016.

1. Pay your rent on time.

You'd think this would be a no-brainer, but a lot of you out there are paying your rent late. When we were working for a local property manager we saw anywhere from 5 to 10% of our rent checks come in late.

Late rent payments can prevent renters from getting approved for future apartments, cause subsidized renters to lose their housing vouchers, or even keep first time buyers from getting loans.

2. Keep proof of every rent payment.

While some big-league landlords are using modern technology to process rent, many small private landlords are way behind the times when it comes to their accounting. Mistakes happen. Rent payments get lost. They get mis-entered. They get deposited to the wrong account. Continue reading 10 Great New Year’s Resolutions To Make Apartment Life Easier

Published by

Kay Cleaves

The Naughtiest and Nicest Landlords of 2015

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Do you think your landlord should be getting coal in their stocking? Or do they deserve some baked goods and a quality bottle of scotch? Lest you think your landlord is the best or the worst in the world, check out our list of 5 landlords who went to extremes to secure their places on Santa's list, be they naughty or nice.

The Naughty:

Landlord: Davin Gartley, Mt. Lebanon, PA
Crime: Failing to pay fines on numerous outstanding health and housing code violations at his rental properties. Running a drug and prostitution operation out of one of his Pittsburgh rental properties. Learn More.
Status: Briefly jailed. Fined $14400 for the multiple violations. Prostitution case is ongoing with the next hearing scheduled for February. Continue reading The Naughtiest and Nicest Landlords of 2015

Published by

Kay Cleaves

Apples & Pears Property Management Phone Log Part II, Thursday December 17, 2015

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The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental and unintentional, and hopefully amusing.

Apples and Pears Property Management is a hardworking, mid-sized budget property management service with buildings all over the north side of Chicago. We're grateful that they've chosen to occasionally share their phone logs with us so we can see what life is like on the receiving end of maintenance requests from hundreds of renters!

December has brought some joyful noise to the Apples and Pears Portfolio. Let's see how their tenants are coping with holiday fever!

Want more adventures from Apples and Pears, and their hardworking crew of Martin, Olly and Pete? You can read Part I here.

Time Building Unit Assigned Details
12:03am Troy 302 Martin Elevator lights out
12:24am Cullerton 3F N/A Footsteps on roof
1:31am Montrose Garden Pete Mouse in kitchen
1:49am Cullerton 3R N/A Footsteps, scraping sounds on roof
3:39am Chase 1F Martin Locked out
7:50am Taylor 201 Pete Kitchen sink leaking into cabinet
7:56am Damen 18-C Pete Ceiling fan wobbly
8:17am Keeler 3B N/A Mr. Pierce would like us to note to file that Ms. Sheridan in 2B is taking her dog out down the front stairs, and that either Ms. Sheridan or her dog are wearing “noisy” bells.

Continue reading Apples & Pears Property Management Phone Log Part II, Thursday December 17, 2015

Published by

Jon Hoferle

Wishful Thinking: 10 Things That Would Make Chicago Apartment Life More Convenient

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I've got a bit of a mad scientist thing going on. I don't get brainstorms so much as I get microbursts of small ideas in quick succession. RentConfident was one of these small ideas that I've built into something much bigger, but I've been coming up with ideas for small space living since I first started renting in the late 90's.

My friends and family think it somewhat odd how much time I spend thinking about apartment living, but for me it's a point of both curiosity and convenience. I come by it organically. While I don't currently rent, I do still live on the upper floor of a multi-unit walkup building. And I do still live in Chicago. And I did rent in Chicago for a very long time.

Welcome to the inside of my head. Today I wanted to share with you a few flights of fancy. This is a list of non-existent or very-difficult-to-find things that would make Chicago apartment life so much more convenient.

1. Cargo Lifts for Exterior Porches.

You know you want one too. (Image via legacylifts.com)
You know you want one too. (Image via legacylifts.com)

These actually exist - check out Legacy Lifts and EasyLift. They're marketed for vacation homes beach homes - the ones on stilts - or lumped in with those stairway lifts for senior citizens with limited mobility. I don't live in a beach house, I'm not a senior citizen and I can walk quite well. I still want one in my back stairwell for groceries and luggage post-haste. Continue reading Wishful Thinking: 10 Things That Would Make Chicago Apartment Life More Convenient

Published by

Kay Cleaves

10 Chicago non-profits that need your help this holiday season

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Shelter is a basic human need and a basic human right. As an apartment research company, we know that many Chicagoans struggle to find and maintain consistent shelter and that this struggle is interconnected with many other basic human needs.

Today we would like to recognize some non-profits that serve Chicago communities by providing access to shelter, food, health care, education, employment, technology, and other services. Please consider donating or volunteering your time and skills to any of these organizations.

Organizations are listed in alphabetical order.

Albany Park Workers Center (a division of the Latino Union)

latino unionWhat they do: coordinate the process of hiring day laborers to eliminate incidents of wage theft. Train laborers to ensure that employers get reliable help. English and workplace safety classes.

Who they help: Day laborers, particularly immigrants.

How you can help: Hire a laborer to help with construction, moving, shoveling or other short term manual labor projects. Donate funds to assist with other programs that help day laborers.

Founded: 2004

Annual Revenue: $540k (Latino Union)

Location: Albany Park (Workers Center) / Pilsen (Latino Union)

Continue reading 10 Chicago non-profits that need your help this holiday season

Published by

Jon Hoferle