In the Chicago rental housing market the CRLTO (Chicago Residential Landlord-Tenant Ordinance) gets all the glory when it comes to laws. More and more landlords and tenants are aware of it, and this is probably for the best as the penalties for violations are quite steep. However, there are other laws that also pertain to rental housing in Chicago that should not be ignored. Here are some that you may not know about. There are certainly more laws that apply, but these are some of the most crucial.
Artistic interpretation of the Chicago code of laws governing rentals
Lead Based Paint Disclosure. The law requiring the disclosure of lead based paint hazards to anyone buying or renting a home has been on the books for twenty years. If a property was built before 1978 the landlord must tell the tenant about any lead-based paint hazards that they know of before renting it out. They also must provide a copy of the EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" pamphlet. Read more about the law.
The StrawStickStone Field Guide to Chicago Apartments series started a few weeks ago with a guide to identifying, tracking and handling garden apartments when encountered on your apartment hunt. Today we're focusing on the coach house, another excellent and unique choice if approached with due caution.
Like many members of the animal kingdom, the Chicago coach house is a master of camouflage. This unique specimen of rental hides in back yards behind larger buildings, invisible from the street. Unique to Chicago and desperately endangered due to shrinking habitat and restrictive zoning regulations, the elusive and wily coach house has a storied history, a valuable place in the Chicago landscape, and a high value to privacy-seekers, mothers-in-law and garage bands citywide. (more…)
Renting a storefront like this will probably be quite different from renting an apartment or a house.
I'm not really sure how people learn about renting out apartments, but by the time they hit the market for the first time they generally have a basic idea of the premise. You pay someone money and exchange you get to live in their building. They handle the maintenance (for the most part) and you leave their building in decent condition when you depart. Easy enough. There are some variances from area to area in terms of what utilities are customarily included and how large/small/old/new the buildings are. Even so, a relative newcomer to apartment hunting can figure it out despite language barriers and regional variances.
I've been working on leasing out a retail storefront in Irving Park lately, and have realized that with commercial spaces the learning curve is far more complex - possibly because business owners come in with preconceived notions based on how the rental housing market works. However, once you switch over to renting out commercial property the whole thing goes out the window. America in all of its messed up glory offers an entire menu of options, arrangements, terms and add-ons for business owners. Meanwhile I'd like to take today to explain a bit about the differences between renting an apartment and renting a storefront, office or other commercial property. If you're out to start your own business or purchase a mixed use building (maybe with my help?) you can use this as a bit of a guide. If you're working for a company that leases their space, maybe this will give you an idea of why your boss keeps stressing out about the rent. (more…)