9 Things Every Smart Chicago Renter Does
You’ve put your name on the mailbox, timed your work commute down to the second and found the sweet spot on the shower dial to get the water temperature just right. But there’s more to renting than just that. We’ve rounded up nine things that every savvy Chicago renter does.
Negotiate Your Rent
Yep, it’s totally cool to negotiate your rent, especially when you’re renewing (most landlords would rather avoid the work of showing a unit). Just be sure you have a good track record as a tenant and think outside the box—if you can’t negotiate for a smaller rent increase, ask about appliance upgrades, a parking discount or repainting. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no, right?
Check for Signs of Bedbugs
News flash: Chicago ranks third on Orkin’s list of top ten cities for bedbugs. Prevent an infestation by reducing clutter (where bugs can hide) and watching for telltale signs, such as itchy bites, a musty odor and rust-colored blood stains (gross).
Test Smoke Detectors and Replace Batteries
Yes, it’s kind of annoying to get out the stepladder, but this is worth it. Check yours every six months. And sleep a little easier at night.
Wipe Out Your Cabinets
Who knew? Kitchen moths are a thing. That’s good reason to regularly wipe out your cabinets. Plus, it will make opening up the pantry for a bowl of cereal a much more pleasant experience.
Clean AC Filters
Surprise, this trick can save you money on your monthly energy bill. At the start of the summer, clean out all the dust and particles in your filter (they can block air flow).
Know Your Rights for Repairs
We hope your landlord isn’t the type to ignore your requests. Just in case, know that for unattended minor requests (things that don’t affect health or safety), you can submit a written request asking for them to be resolved in 14 days—if they still go unattended, you can hire someone to take care of it and deduct up to $500 from your next rent check. For major requests, you can actually terminate your lease.
Purge Your Possessions
Remember what we said about bedbugs? If that’s not reason enough to do a regular cleanout of closets and drawers, think about how much easier it will make your eventual move (this is, after all, temporary).
Get to Know Your Neighbors
A certain level of anonymity is desirable (especially when walls and floors are paper thin). But what if you get locked out or need someone to accept a package? It pays to say “hi” in the elevator.
Re-Evaluate Your Living Situation
Moving sucks. There’s no more universally accepted fact. But so does living in a space that’s too small, outdated or far from your new job. Take stock each year to be sure your living situation still works.