By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Chicago—These days, a lot of people are discovering, or rediscovering, the very special appeal of renting an apartment. With so many clamoring for the renting lifestyle, there are likely many questions to be asked. How do I start the search for an apartment? What should I seek in an apartment community? And how can I ensure my rights as a renter are protected once I sign the lease?
These and other issues are explored in a new initiative being undertaken by the Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA) and Chicago’s WBBM-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Called Apartment Living, the advocacy and education campaign will air weekly on the station’s 11 a.m. news broadcasts through late April, and focuses on nine separate interviews conducted with key CAA members.
Those members discuss the reasons apartment living is the right lifestyle choice for many, and explore issues from local fair housing laws and renter’s insurance to opportunities for renters to meet their neighbors at community get-togethers.
“The impetus was the surge in the rental market,” CAA executive vice-president Judith Roettig tells MHN. “We’ve been through a very difficult recession, but the rental market has pulled out of it more quickly than other parts of the economy. Research shows that more and more people will be choosing renting.”
The National Apartment Association and the National Multi Housing Council have determined through their joint research that within the next 10 years, half of all new households in the United States will be renter households, Roettig says.
The campaign is all the more appropriate for the Windy City, because as Roettig notes, “This has always been a renter town. Something between 58 and 60 percent of households are renter households in the city of Chicago.”
Adds CAA president Greg Lozinak: “With the continued uncertainty in the housing market, renting is becoming an excellent choice for more and more individuals. Our goal with this campaign is to educate those individuals about why renting is such a great option, and arm them with information that will help them find a rental home perfectly suited to their needs.”
Lozinak, who in addition to his CAA role serves as chief operating officer of Waterton Residential, reports property management companies are crucial determinants of satisfaction for renters. He makes clear to prospective renters that they want to choose a management company that provides excellent service, treats renters fairly and follows through on its commitment to maintain both the apartment building and the apartments themselves.
“One of the easiest ways to check if you’re working with a reputable company is to look for the CAA logo,” he adds. “Our members adhere to the industry’s highest professional standards and practices.”
The Chicago campaign is modeled on the Apartment Living campaign earlier conducted by the Philadelphia Apartment Association in partnership with its local CBS affiliate, Roettig says, adding she contacted WBBM-TV to lobby for a similar campaign in Chicago.
“This is a renter town, there’s going to be more renters, and we wanted the consumers to recognize the resources out there and available to them.”