This past Wednesday was "National Love Your Pet Day," one of many unofficial holidays which I suspect was created to drive e-card traffic in the early 2000s. The oldest online mention I could find of it was in an archived copy of the now defunct greeting-cards.com from 2003, when it hadn't yet acquired the "National" moniker. (Yes I check these things, don't look at me like that.) As much as I am dubious of the motives behind the creation of the holiday, there's no denying that pets are important to a lot of renters. I figured that pets are both a topic I hadn't addressed much in this blog and one that is far more enjoyable than the Chicago mayoral election.
There are few reliable studies about pet ownership. The few that exist are opt-in and performed with questionable rigor with an end goal of market research for vets, pet supply companies and emergency services. Mentions of pet ownership statistics for Illinois give numbers ranging from 51.8% to 68% of Illinois residents. Suffice to say there are more people with pets than there are pet-friendly apartments, particularly when it comes to dogs.
The problem of finding pet-friendly housing is not exclusive to renters. The Realtors to the Rescue program was founded by a Chicago real estate agent to handle the problem of pets that are abandoned when their owners move away. The prohibition of support animals in high density housing has been a recurring hot button topic in fair housing lawsuits for years, and those suits plague developments ranging from condo associations to eldercare facilities.
It is said that the first step in a battle is understanding how your enemy thinks. So for the sake of renters who are trying to find housing that will accept their pet dogs, here's some things that may have caused a landlord to put dog restrictions in their lease. Continue reading Why Are Landlords So Hard on Dog Owners?
Most states have a couple of different licensing tiers for real estate agents. In most cases there's a license for sales agents and a separate one for their managing brokers. These two license tiers require different amounts of pre-licensing education and continuing education to obtain and maintain, with the managers understandably needing more training than their subordinates.
In Illinois we have a two additional tiers at the bottom of the totem pole for leasing agents and leasing agent students. Today we'll be looking at the requirements for these rental-only licenses and comparing them against the licensing requirements for those who perform similar roles in other states across the country. Continue reading Licensing of Leasing Agents Across the United States
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)
My least favorite part about living in Chicago (Twice)
The worst (Twice) Continue reading Twitter’s Opinion of Chicago Apartment Hunting
I think we can all agree that January was a terrible month for a lot of Chicago residents. We had 25 days of government shutdown which left about 8000 Illinois residents without pay for most of the month. While SNAP Benefits ("food stamps") were still distributed in Illinois, many of those workers still wound up visiting food pantries in order to get by.
As soon as the shutdown ended, the snow followed, and then the polar vortex. The post office was not delivering mail for the last two days of the month, when many renters drop their rent checks in the mail. About 4000 flights were canceled. Paratransit was canceled. School was canceled. Workers were forced to use vacation time or simply go without pay in order to watch their kids or stay safe. Some of those who called off work this week may find their shifts reduced or their jobs terminated as a result.
The extreme cold also put strain on the furnaces and boilers heating Chicago apartments, many of which are sized to work properly while the outside temperature is above 0°F but no lower. Apartment doors froze shut. Pipes froze solid. Windows and walls iced over.
A lot of news outlets ran articles on how to prepare for polar vortex Jayron. However, the aftermath of January 2019 is a separate matter that could also benefit from some attention, and I have a feeling that the media will not really address it now that the worst has passed.
Circumstances like those we faced over the past month have given rise to a lot of worst-case scenario "what if" questions popping up from renters and landlords on discussion boards across the web. I wanted address some of the major questions and rumors that have arisen from these discussions to make sure our renting readers are operating on the correct information.
1. I'm a federal employee who spent January without pay. What should I do if I can't afford my February rent?
You need to be in immediate contact with your landlord. You need to be creating a paper trail now. While some landlords may be forgiving this month, others will have no sympathy at all and you have to operate on the assumption that February will be business as usual at your landlord's office until you receive written confirmation to the contrary. You may be able to work out a payment plan where you add a certain amount to your monthly payments over the next few months to pay off February's rent, and this should definitely be the first thing you offer to do. Continue reading The Aftermath of January 2019