Fires happen far too often in Chicago apartments, but prevention can be very expensive. Clockwise from top right: June 2011 Hyde Park (Tribune), January 2012 Lakeview (CBS Chicago), October 2011 Edgewater (Tribune), Lakeview April 2012 (CBS Chicago).
Safe homes for a small fee. Tinley Park is joining what must now be a majority of Chicagoland suburbs that require some sort of city-sponsored training and licensing from landlords. Everybody wants a cut under the pretense of safety. (Tribune)
.. or a large fee. Some Condominium high rises are having problems coming up with the necessary funds to comply with Chicago's high rise life safety ordinance. Enacted after a fire at the downtown County administration building killed several in 2003, it requires tall apartment & condo buildings to install either communications systems and either sprinklers or fire-blocking doorways. Compliance could bankrupt some condo associations but the steep fines could too. (Tribune)
... or no fees at all? Meanwhile a recent Massachusetts lawsuit has made it illegal in that state for an apartment community to charge anything beyond first & last month's rent, a security deposit of no more than one month's rent, plus a lock change fee. Background check fees, move-in fees, administrative fees and pet deposits are not allowed. This has, of course, led to an enormous volume of class action suits against Massachusetts landlords. Could Illinois or Chicago go the same way? (GTLaw.com)
But then there's the fees that nobody pays, but probably should. Usually homeowners are required by either their lender or their condo association to carry insurance for their home. Renters on the other hand? Not so much. According to a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute, renters outnumber homeowners in the country's largest cities but only 31% of renters have renters' insurance. (CNBC.com)
HUD comes calling at the CHA. In past Weekend Links articles I've been following the story of the high volume of empty apartments in housing projects owned & managed by the Chicago Housing Authority. Apparently I'm not the only one - HUD's now paying attention too. (ChicagoNow)
Casa de Shenandoah, aka Graceland West. Home of Wayne Newton. That's a whole lot of "Danke Schön" right there. (LasVegasGinger.blogspot.com)
Eviction of the week. Wayne Newton. (No kidding.) Mr. Newton is on the splits from his business partner, with whom he had been seeking to turn his Nevada mansion into a Newton-based theme park. (I really wish I was kidding.) So he sold his estate to the partner's company, CSD LLC, which has since spent about $50 million on the incomplete project. It can move no further due to conflicts between Newton and the company as to how to best continue. CSD is suing to evict Newton. (This is serious business. VERY SERIOUS.) (KLAS-TV)
House music like no other winds up our week. Here's an oldie but goodie from 2005 that satisfies my love of totally wacko architecture like no other. It's a house that also serves as a resonation box for the strings wired through it like an enormous harp. Symphonic House/Wege House in Michigan was designed by David Hanwalt with sonic installation by "America's Got Talent" contestant William Close. The homepage is big on media, low on text, so here's a description of it from the Trib to go with.