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Old 01-15-2012, 01:10 AM
 
14 posts, read 21,436 times
Reputation: 12

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Hello, my new Chicago friends!
I am very excited to be moving to Chicago next month. I'm looking for an apartment in Bucktown with my fiance. I lived in NYC for 6 years, so I am not unaware of the shady ways of some (some would say many) realtors.

I started emailing a Chicago realtor recently, and she implied that all apartments there charge a $400 "standard move in fee." This seems absolutely ridiculous to me, and I more or less, told her that I would not pay one of these. Is this really standard or is she trying to blow smoke up my...well, you know? I refuse to be taken advantage of just because I'm new to the city. New York kicked my butt when I first got there, but I wised up (eventually...lol). I'm hoping that you guys can help me out on here and let me know what the real story is with apartments in Chicago.

Thanks guys! Looking forward to being neighbors!

Sarah-Kate
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:53 AM
 
Location: Chicago
204 posts, read 806,385 times
Reputation: 225
It is pretty standard now to have a non-refundable move-in fee instead of a refundable deposit if you are renting from a property management company and not a one or few property landlord. This was not the case until maybe 2 years ago, but most major companies have implemented this policy. There are several reasons for it: less litigation over the returning of security deposits, landlords with a building with 6 or more units were/are required to pay interest on security deposits, and it is an easy way to make cash without having to do anything.

It sucks, but I've found very few places that don't have this practice in Chicago, and the first time I encountered it I was convinced it was a scam (it basically is). Several of my friends and a few people on city-data have recently had their security deposits returned to them in the middle of their leases because their building has now switched over to this system. Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:19 AM
 
14 posts, read 21,436 times
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Thanks, jgardener. So, I guess I should only be skeptical if they're trying to charge me both. It's so crazy moving to a new place. I appreciate your help.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:30 AM
 
Location: Chicago
204 posts, read 806,385 times
Reputation: 225
Yes, definitely don't pay both.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:46 AM
lz0
 
Location: Chicago (Lakeview)
34 posts, read 210,480 times
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If you use an apartment-finding agency to help you look, ask them to show you privately owned buildings. They tend to prefer security deposits, in my experience. And living in a privately owned building has various advantages over a company-managed building, if the owner is a decent human being.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:16 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
10,238 posts, read 19,716,413 times
Reputation: 10225
No.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:28 AM
 
121 posts, read 198,206 times
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I have never heard of this. Must be something done in the more popular neighborhoods.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:55 AM
 
14 posts, read 21,436 times
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Thanks again, guys. I appreciate your taking the time to respond.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:17 AM
 
91 posts, read 196,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lz0 View Post
If you use an apartment-finding agency to help you look, ask them to show you privately owned buildings. They tend to prefer security deposits, in my experience. And living in a privately owned building has various advantages over a company-managed building, if the owner is a decent human being.
Any good agent you would recommend? We will need such help in the next couple of month. Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:29 AM
 
968 posts, read 2,399,685 times
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400.00 for a 'move in' fee is shady IF it's in addition to a security deposit, but that's already been covered..a few other things to be aware of :
- When you start looking, ask if the rental is a condo that's being rented out . If so, your lease is with the owner of the condo, but you and they are still subject to Condo association rules, fees, etc. Make sure you understand what you would call the landlord/agent for, and what you can directly contact the building managers ( who work for the association) ..In some neighborhoods, lots of nice rentals fit this . Check the lease carefully for any 'escape' or 'sell the unit' clauses to avoid surprises down the road. For this subject, the 'move in fees' are usually set by the association . These are more common in larger or High Rise developments, and are sometimes called 'Elevator Fees' ..and they're not 400 bucks !!
- From your other post , really recommend you look for a unit with parking if you're going to rent in some of the more 'popular' neighborhoods ..On Street Parking in places like Lincoln Park, Near North, Wrigleyville, and even Bucktown/WP can be a bit of a challenge .
- May 1st and October 1st are the big rental 'turnover' periods; if you're moving here soon, you might have more wiggle room in negotiations, but in general it is a sellers market for rentals in a lot of Chicago neighborhoods right now ..good thing for you is nobody likes to move in Jan or Feb ..for obvious reasons

Good Luck
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