Tag Archives: section 8

Could Your Property Pass a Section 8 Inspection?

If you're involved in the rental business it won't be long before you hear about Section 8. Chances are good that you've heard of it even if you aren't involved with renting. It's bandied about by NIMBY residents who don't want poor people living in their neighborhood. You see, "Section 8" refers to a portion of the US Housing Act of 1937, which authorized the government to pay rent on behalf of residents who would not otherwise be able to afford it. While it generally is used by low income residents, it's also used in some occasions to assist people who have lost their homes to natural disasters, as was the case after Hurricane Katrina.

In Chicago it's administered by the Chicago Housing Authority and utilizes two main types of homes: those owned and managed by CHA, and privately owned apartment buildings throughout the city.

... Not that Section 8


Weekend Links: August 4, 2012

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.


Weekend Links

I figure you guys could use a weekly break from my yammering so I'll be doing links on the weekends. Don't know if this will continue forever but it's worth a shot.

  • The Future is now: The Illinois legislature has approved an amendment to the Illinois Security Deposit Return Act that allows deposit receipts and statements of damages to be sent via email instead of registered post. Friend of the blog Rich Magnone gives some good analysis of the new amendment.
  • Saying nice things: I should also mention that Rich is an excellent Chicago Eviction attorney and legal advisor for landlords. His site, ChicagoEviction.com, contains a ton of good info for landlords from the legal POV. He's thorough and practical and has excellent taste.
  • Gambling with Apartments: It's always interesting to see what big corporate thinks of our living situation. See how the REITs who invest in large-scale apartment complexes are assessing Chicago's rapidly rising rents and falling vacancy levels. REIS Reports has one take on the booming downtown luxury rental market, and Crain's Chicago Real Estate Daily has another great take on the matter.
  • Oldie but goodie: over on Get Rich Slowly, a blogger talks about how ruining his credit score was the best thing he could have done for learning how to live within his means.
  • A bit of good news: Another agent in my office (Baird & Warner City North) was one of the experts consulted for a front page Chicago Tribune article on Friday. Chicago home prices break 49 month losing streak.
  • The ultimate move-in checklist: The Chicago Housing Authority performs some of the most stringent housing inspections in the area on behalf of its Housing Choice Voucher Holders, also known as recipients of "Section 8" housing assistance. They make a version of their inspection checklist available for the public. See if your apartment would pass a CHA inspection. (PDF)
  • Eviction of the week: a tenant renting out his apartment for short stays using the popular AirBnB short term rental service has found himself served with an eviction suit. Maybe he can use some of the $20k he earned from his illicit side business to buy his own place instead. Find out his side of the story at Fast Company.