In a normal year the Chicago rental industry would be gearing up for the busiest moving day of the year, May 1. There would also be some serious prep for April 1 happening but the real spike usually occurs in May. This has been the case for centuries, reaching back to a time when May 1 was the only day when leases expired throughout the entirety of Chicago.
Towards the end of last week's article I touched briefly on the effect that COVID-19 might have on the May 1 peak of the season but today I want to explore that in more detail, because we're looking at something with far reaching implications for a huge number of industries throughout the city. Continue reading Advice for Chicago Renters with Spring 2020 Lease Expirations and COVID-19 Concerns
In today's article there will probably be several instances where I appear to be flaunting or failing to recognize my own privilege. I apologize if it comes off this way. It isn't the intent but I know full well that it will probably happen regardless.
There's been a lot of talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect people who work in delivery, food service and healthcare. I've seen far less attention paid to the people who are supporting the homes that have now become de facto prisons and workplaces for much of the U.S. office labor force.
It is a reasonable assumption that the more people stay home from work, the higher the chances are that they will break things within their homes. Holiday weeks always prompt a flurry of maintenance calls due to increased demand on the physical plant of the apartment building. The same thing happens immediately following snow days when kids are often left at home unsupervised. With all of the recent news about businesses asking workers to stay home and schools closing to limit exposure to COVID-19, I have been thinking with some worry about the men and women who work on the maintenance teams for apartment buildings across the country and hoping they're able to weather the massive workload facing them in the coming month. Continue reading Apartment Maintenance In the Time of COVID-19
"If you're sick, stay home." We've seen that a million times in the news reports lately. But what happens if "home" is an apartment building shared by hundreds of other people? How can neighbors protect themselves from infected neighbors? There's a lot of hype out there, much of it unnecessary. So today we'll be taking a quick look at some more practical ways to to minimize transmission of diseases in high density housing situations such as apartment buildings and dorms, mostly because I'd be remiss to avoid the topic. But I'll also be taking a moment to adjust our attitudes about media sensations and their effects on daily living situations. Continue reading Avoiding Disease in Apartment Buildings
Recently one of the people I follow on Twitter asked why the minimum temperatures in Chicago apartments are so high. She stated that she keeps her home in the 50-60 degree range all winter long, and was concerned that apartment buildings are wasting energy by keeping temperatures so much higher than she does in this era of growing climate and energy usage concerns. This question of course sent me off down a rabbit hole through archival versions of the historic Chicago Municipal Code and the library's archives of the Chicago Tribune. Again.
Today we'll be looking at how the Chicago Heat Ordinance (or the "minimum residential temperatures ordinance") evolved from its first drafts in 1922 through the present day. Continue reading Progress by Degrees: A History of the Chicago Heat Ordinance
I recently got a tweet from a reader in response to our article about package theft. She was surprised that the city of Chicago ticketed landlords with overflowing dumpsters. I explained that they usually only do so if neighbors complain. This led me to think more in-depth about the importance of neighbors, a group that are both crucial to and completely ignored by Chicago's rental market. Today I'm going to use my own experiences and a few examples from the news to explain why both landlords and renters need to be more aware of their neighbors. Continue reading The Importance of Being Neighbors