The first step to renting an accommodation in Chicago is to select a real estate agency to work with or search on websites such as Craiglist Chicago for accommodations that match your needs. See the section “Finding a home” for more details about this research process. You will also have to open a bank account. Check with your company or agency to see if they can recommend one that they have a relationship with in Chicago (also see the “Banking” section).
Remember that you can always negotiate the rent and the date you will be able to move in but this is your real estate agent who has to bargain it directly with the real estate agent representing the owner.
The documents you will have to provide to be able to rent and move into the apartment or house you have choosen are:
If you relocate with a company or a governmental agency:
- Visa, and
- Any official documents stating that you relocate with your company or governmental agency.
If you relocate alone:
- Proofs of credit through one of US major credit agencies (Equifax, Transunion or Experian) or a major credit rating agency from your home country. If you are not able to provide this kind of document and do not have credit history in the US, a letter from your company or a official copy of your work contract will suffice.
- Proof of savings
- Contact information or proof of your former residence.
Be aware that you may be required to supply further documents upon request. We advised you to take all your documents with you, so if you decide that this is the right apartment or house for you, you can sign the lease directly on the spot with the real estate agent or in his/her agency.
The lease agreement length is traditionally of one year. The turnover for renting accommodations in Chicago is in October and May-June. It means you will have more chance to find the perfect place at these times of the year. Nevertheless accommodations become available all around the year. You will have to pay from one to two months deposit in addition to the first month of rent. Check with the real estate agent or landlord to understand exactly what the monthly rent includes. It may vary according to the kind of accommodations you are renting. Most apartments and houses for rent are equipped with appliances such as washing machine, dryer, dishwashing machine, oven, and microwave. Make sure they all work or request replacements, if necessary, before moving in. The place must be cleaned before you enter. Be aware that if you leave before the end of the lease agreement (i.e. one year), you will have to pay for the rent until the end of the one year contract anniversary.
For examples of what are the elements of a lease agreement in Illinois, please check the following links:
It is difficult to give an average of rentals rates as prices may vary from one neighborhood to another and also from the type of accommodations. And Chicago is a large city… The following websites will give you an idea of rental rates in Chicago and in the suburbs:
- http://www.furnishedapartmentschicago.com/location.php Even if it is for short term leases, this resource will give you an estimate of the rental average by type of accommodation in Chicago downtown and in the suburbs.
- http://www.chicagoapartmentfinders.com/chicago-neighborhoods.asp Click on the neighborhood you are interested to live in and you will have a table of the rental rates by type of accommodations.