With Chicago’s spring rental season in full swing, many renters are finding it more challenging to find an apartment than in previous years. That’s because the slump in the for-sale market has made more people turn to rental housing, resulting in increased demand, increased rental rates and high occupancy.
This rise in renters spurred the Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA) put together an educational campaign to inform renters entering the spring market with tips on finding an apartment, questions for vetting landlords and property managers, and insights into amenities and lifestyle options. The CAA, in partnership with CBS2, created nine videos, which originally aired on CBS, with comments from executives from Chicago’s leading apartment property management firms covering these topics.
“With the growing population of people choosing to rent, we felt, as an association supporting both landlords and renters, that it was important to help educate renters about what’s available to them and how to protect themselves,” said Judy Roettig, executive vice president with the CAA. “We want renters to make informed decisions and to be very happy with the apartment home they select, whether it’s with a CAA member’s property or elsewhere.”
Tips offered to renters in the video series include:
• Rent Right: Before searching for an apartment, make sure you have an understanding of rental basics. Familiarize yourself with local fair housing laws and be prepared to provide a security deposit. Look into rental insurance that will protect your personal possessions, since landlords are only responsible for insuring against damages to the premises.
• A New Lease on Life: Ask for a written lease; it’s a contract between you and your landlord. It should clearly state your landlord’s obligations as well as yours. Read your lease thoroughly, understand all terms and keep a copy of anything you sign. Keep in mind that many property management companies and apartment communities offer some flexibility in the term of the lease and rates to help meet your needs and your budget.
• Know Your Neighbor: Even as a renter, you can find a home where you enjoy a sense of community between you and your neighbors. Look for an apartment community where the management firm hosts social events and activities designed to help residents foster a neighborhood atmosphere. Many communities also use social media to connect residents with each other and the surrounding neighborhood.
• Go Green: Renters can continue their commitment to the environment by choosing a property management company that operates “green” and offers apartments with eco-friendly features.
• Live Healthy: Today it’s easier than ever to find a rental apartment that will complement your health and fitness priorities. Look for an apartment community that offers amenities like fitness centers and outdoor spaces, and a smoke-free environment to contribute to your healthy lifestyle.
• Stand Out From The Crowd: Apartment living does not have to mean white walls and beige carpet. Whether it’s a building with distinctive architectural elements or an apartment with stylish finishes, find an apartment community that reflects your personal taste and style.
• Reap Resident Rewards: From negotiating discounts with local retailers to offering concierge services, many of today’s apartment communities make it a priority to offer a high level of convenience and service to their residents.
And whether you’re renting during the busy spring market, or any time throughout the year, the CAA has resources available on its website.
To learn more about the Apartment Living advocacy campaign and view interviews with CAA members, visit http://caapts.org/apartment-living.aspx. And to see photos of rental communities with available apartment homes, view this Flickr photo stream.