For those of you wondering, I haven't given up on finding the data I needed to finish last week's article. It's in process but it is taking a while. There's hundreds of cases to sort through in two different courts and neither court system is particularly strong on the public documentation.
High density living can at times serve as a constant reminder of how we haven't quite yet achieved the American Dream. Every time you hear your neighbor walking around, watching TV or throwing a party you're reminded that you haven't yet earned your own plot of land. It chafes at some people more than others.
In my years working in an apartment property management office I took a lot of voicemails and angry emails from neighbors who were upset about the activities of their fellow tenants. I say voicemails deliberately as most of them came in during the middle of the night when the office was closed.
Not every building has the same problems. We didn't have a lot of issues with people stealing each others' wifi or cable but in other areas that might be more of a concern. However, not every landlord reacts the same to complaints. Some will tell you about them, some will silently put them in your file for future use against you, others will ignore them completely.
No matter the situation today I have compiled the most common ones that I encountered into a list for you, in case you want to avoid being "that guy." Continue reading The 10 Most Common Neighbor Complaints in Apartments
So this week I was going to have a nice little 10 list for you guys about the reasons why renters file complaints against their neighbors in apartment buildings. But that's going to have to wait a couple of weeks because the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has decided to propose some changes the way they handle disparate impact cases. I really can't post a 10 list when this sort of thing is going on or the Twitterverse will eat me for lunch.
Longtime readers will know that I try to take a neutral stance on most hot-button issues in a sort of infuriating way. This time is no different. Most of the articles I've seen are decrying the changes as hostile to minorities, and yes, that is definitely a problem. But I have been calling for tort reform in the area of landlord-tenant litigation for 13 years now, and have done so no less than five times so far in this blog alone. Having gotten my wish, even if it's in a really icky area, I would be remiss to immediately take a stance either way without fully investigating the changes.
Now I know this may disappoint some of you, especially given the length of what I'm about to put out there, but I can't give you my full take on the changes today. It's too early in the process and there's some missing pieces of data that I need before I feel comfortable making a judgment call. So I'll have to follow this up with that information next week if I can find it. But I can give you some initial first impressions and an overview of the changes as I understand them. Continue reading Tort Reform or Gross Injustice? HUD’s proposed changes to Disparate Impact Discrimination Cases
In an ideal world we would have an ample amount of time to make a sensible decision for our next address every time we move. We'd be able to lovingly pack up our belongings in newspaper and bubble wrap, give our old place a deep cleaning and drop the keys off at our landlord's office like respectable adults. But we all know that for renters this sort of nice, leisurely move doesn't always happen. There are plenty of times when we have to get out of our housing immediately.
For some folks who get new jobs, they may have a weekend to complete a transfer. Then there's the more dire situations. Breakups, fights, house fires, natural disasters and violence can all force us to move on short notice, sometimes only a few hours or minutes. Today we've got a quick guide on what to do when you have to move in a hurry. Continue reading Moving in a Hurry
Right around this time of year most Chicago landlords are sending out their final lease renewals for the year in preparation for the end of the rental season. Right around this time of year Chicago landlords area also fielding requests from tenants to go in and do the "mandatory annual repainting" that is supposedly required by law.
Newsflash: it is required by law. In New York City. Not in Chicago. Even in NYC it's only required once every three years. According to Chicago law your landlord only has to keep the walls in sound condition and good repair.
I have no idea how this New York only law became something that tenants across the country assume is in effect everywhere, although I have my suspicions as to what occurred. But it never fails that every year at least one renter within a landlord portfolio of decent size will ask for their annual paint job when they get their lease renewal offer. It came in so often at my old job that I had to make an email macro to handle the responses. The important takeaway here is that rental and real estate laws vary wildly from state to state and city to city. Continue reading Questions to Ask When Relocating to a New City
This post contains a small amount of profanity for pseudo-scientific purposes.
If I were to ask you for the first word that comes into your mind when I say "stepmother," I would guess that for most of you the answer would be "evil" or "wicked." In the field of linguistics, the phrases "evil stepmother" and "wicked stepmother" are known as bigrams.
A bigram is a combination of two "tokens" (such as words or letters) that appear frequently together in spoken words or printed text. In today's article we're focusing on two-word combos. There are larger word groupings used by linguistic scientists which are all collectively referred to as ngrams. Today we'll be seeking out the most popular adjective + noun bigrams from various sources as they pertain to the rental industry. Continue reading Irish Landlords, Eccentric Landladies: The Ngrams of Rental Housing