Closer Look

12 Renters’ Rights To Know When Living In Chicago

Photo courtesy of Bert Kaufmann

BY MADISON FREEMAN

It’s that time again.

It’s apartment hunting season, and it won’t be easy for those who are ill-prepared. At the start of second semester, a thought lingers in the back of students’ minds: Where am I going to live next year?

Living off campus is a change for many students. It is the first time some undergraduates will pay for rent, food and utilities each month. This change can be a difficult transition with a lot of confusion and new responsibilities. Despite city-mandated rights, many renters have problems with landlords who try to violate the law. It is no secret that some Loyola students who rent feel as though their needs are not taken as seriously because they are in college.

Senior Emily Daucher has had issues with her apartment since she moved in one year ago.

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“There are times when stuff of ours won’t get fixed,” Daucher said. “Our buzzer has been broken since we moved in and it just now got fixed.”

Daucher said she thinks bad communication is the reason why there are objects in her apartment that have not gotten fixed.

Moving into an apartment in a large city such as Chicago, especially on a college student’s budget, can add extra stress to the process.

“When you move into an apartment, especially one in an older building, it comes with a unique set of quirks,” sophomore Hannah Bonner said. “For example, every hot and cold nozzle on my various faucets are switched. Also, at night if I leave my radiators on to keep my apartment warm, it sounds like someone is attempting to simultaneously break in while boiling a teapot until it whistles.”

In addition to radiator troubles, Bonner said she has faulty keys and locks in her apartment. In order to lock the front door when leaving, Bonner said she has to lift the handle, jiggle the key and pull back quickly to make sure the lock clicks into place.

Although some people may feel the rights of young renters are not taken as seriously as others, one student said they are lucky with the place they call home.

“My apartment now is really old, but whenever we’ve had a problem — which is fairly often to be honest — [my landlord] has been very helpful and quick to respond,” senior Jamie Smith said.  “I’ve been very lucky with my landlord. I’ve definitely heard some horror stories.”

Knowing renters’ rights can help new tenants avoid difficult situations.

There are roughly 2,800 undergraduate students who rent off campus, said  Loyola’s Assistant Dean of Students Kimberly Moore. There are two classifications of students who live off campus: commuter students and resimuter students.  Many commuter students live at home with parents or guardians and travel some distance to campus. Resimuter students are upperclassmen who live in non-Loyola housing. Most of these students live near campus, in areas such as Rogers Park, Edgewater and near Water Tower Campus.

Knowing renters’ rights is key. For more information on renters’ rights, students can call Chicago Rents Right hotline at 312-742-RENT or visit the Center for Renters Rights at (3007 N. Ashland Ave.).

Finding the right rental can be tricky. Finding places that allow friendly gatherings, movie nights and somewhere to rest your head after a long week is essential. Finding a place to live comes with its own set of quirks and new experiences. As renters, students have rights that must be upheld in order for them to have healthy and safe living experiences.

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Erin Kelly is the Closer Look editor. She is a senior journalism student at Loyola University Chicago, originally from Lake Villa, IL. A former Better Government Association intern, Erin enjoys working on in-depth stories.

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