Tag Archives: fair housing

Are You Ready To Start Apartment Hunting? (A Quiz)

Are you ready to start apartment hunting?

Renters, the apartment market in Chicago has gotten very competitive over the past few years. While developers are finishing up new apartments that will help ease some of the frantic pace, most of the new buildings are very close to downtown. If you're going to be looking for an apartment this year you cannot afford to go into the market unprepared. This quiz will hopefully help you to avoid some of the major pitfalls so that you can get the apartment you want on the first try.
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10 Unexpected Reasons Why Tenants Get Rejected

The “Landlord’s Applicant Rejection Kit” actually exists, and is published by Nolo.com.

According to Chicago’s fair housing laws, a landlord cannot use a tenant’s race, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military discharge status or source of income as a reason to select or reject their application. They can’t use any of those as a basis for showing or refusing to show them an apartment. Most tenants are aware of these laws and most landlords follow them to some extent or another. They may not know all of the specific protected classes for housing, as Chicago has more than other cities and states, but they do the best they can.

High credit scores, verifiable income of a reasonable amount and a clean prior rental record remain the holy trinity of landlords’ criteria for approving a renter. They allow a landlord to make a decision on the main issues that matter without risking a fair housing lawsuit. However, in the interest of protecting their buildings and minimizing maintenance costs a landlord may use some secondary, non-protected criteria in addition to the big three. Today we’re reviewing some of those surprise factors that could kill your chances of landing your dream apartment so that you can plan around them. (more…)

Weekend Links: August 18, 2012

No themes or schemes for this installment of the weekend links.

The Green Roof on Chicago’s City Hall. [via CityofChicago.org]

It’s not easy being green. WBEZ looks into the success rate of Chicago’s Green roof programs and the future for this environmentally-friendly innovation in a market with minimal development. (“A green roofs check-in, Anthony Martinez, WBEZ.org)

…But the city may be able to help. Would you like a free programmable thermostat for your home? How about free low-flow showerheads, CFL lamps, energy audits or tax-break incentives towards green upgrades? The Retrofit Chicago program has been expanded to include the Residential sector, with a focus on older buildings. (“Residential Phase of Retrofit Chicago Launched,” CityofChicago.org Press Release)

1952 called, it wants its racism back. Seriously guys, I thought we were past all of this nonsense by now. A father in Cincinnati has sued his landlord for posting a “whites only” sign at the building’s swimming pool. (“Father: ‘White Only’ pool sign caused suffering,” AP via HeraldExtra.com)

Condo assessments now optional, says Illinois court. In a ruling that has attorneys and condo associations nationwide looking on in horror, an Illinois court has deemed that owners are entitled to withhold their assessment payments if the association is not sufficiently maintaining the common areas of the property. Can anyone else see the potential for disaster in this? (“Ruling could change course of collection proceedings,” Pamela Dittmer McKuen, Chicago Tribune.)

Reuters is all up in our business. A recent Reuters article about whether condos are a viable alternative to college dorms has a very familiar ring to it. I may be kind of biased, but I like our take on the situation better. (“Condos for college kids? Do the math first,” John Wasik, Reuters.)

Eviction(s) of the week. I talked about passive-aggressive tenants, but these guys are just plain aggressive. Of course, you’ve probably heard already that Colorado gunman James Holmes was evicted from his apartment in Aurora. Booby-trapping his apartment and murdering multiple people are cited as the causes for the eviction, although Holmes has not yet officially been convicted of the killings. Meanwhile, an officer in Texas was killed by a tenant while he was in the process of serving eviction papers. Be careful out there, guys. (“Holmes officially evicted from Aurora Home,” CBS News. “Eviction’s deadly turn no surprise to law officers,” James Pinkerton, Chron.com)

Agents, you be careful too. Local Chicago wholesale real estate agent RJ Cit tells us the story of working with an unstable veteran in the process of selling the distressed and badly underwater home of the vet’s deceased father. Stalking, threatening phone calls, and assorted other hijinks ensue. Part I and Part II. (“Wholesaling Real Estate – Worst Seller Ever,” RJ Cit, ChicagoCashFlowProperties.com)

 

Weekend Links for August 11, 2012

Finding apartments as an expat is rarely simple, as this roundup of guides and personal accounts will attest.

This year has been big for working with clients who are moving to Chicago from elsewhere. I’ve worked with people moving from Boston, New York, DC and Los Angeles. Also in the mix have been renters from overseas. I also spent some time reading my friend’s Facebook updates about her difficult apartment search as an ex-pat in Germany. So, after writing about mortgages all week it’s time for me – and you guys – to take a well-earned vacation trip around the world with this installment of the Weekend Links.

Renting apartments outside the US. Of course, I cannot depart entirely from the real estate theme here, so we’ll be focusing this travelogue on guides and personal accounts of renting apartments in countries other than the United States. (more…)