So you want to move to Chicago and you’ve just started your apartment search. You have your monthly budget in mind, but you’re not sure if you’ll need to factor in additional costs for parking, utilities and pet fees. Plus, you know there will be some type of security deposit and application fees.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an understanding of these above and beyond costs before you head out to tour apartments?
You’re in luck because, in this post, the Luxury Living Chicago Realty team is going to break down the various fees and charges potential renters can expect in the downtown Chicago rental apartment and condo market.
If you’re renting an apartment in a managed Chicago rental building, you most likely won’t have to pay a security deposit (that’s a bonus for having good credit and a strong income). Instead, you’ll pay a one-time non-refundable administration fee typically between $400-$600. As an incentive, a property might waive this fee, or reduce it, if you decide to rent an apartment within 24-hours of touring.
You’ll also have to pay an application fee (for running credit and background checks and processing your application). This is usually $50-$60 per person.
If you’re bringing Fido along, plant to budget for an additional $500-$600 one-time non-refundable pet fee. Cat fees are usually half this amount. Some properties also charge pet rent (typically $75-$150 per month).
Some downtown Chicago apartments offer an all-inclusive utility package. These utility packages typically include heat, air conditioning, water, and trash removal. Many times cable and the internet are also included in these packages. Utility packages range from $80-$150 a month depending on the size of the unit you are renting.
Keep in mind, electricity is almost NEVER included in a utility package. Electricity will run $30-$100 a month (depending on unit size and usage) and is set up with an outside provider.
The usage of fitness centers, outdoor pools, business centers, and resident lounges are always included in your rent. They are common spaces built for the enjoyment of all residents.
Chicago condo units are typically private apartments that are owned by a landlord or investor and rented out. The primary difference between renting a private downtown Chicago condo versus an apartment from a managed building is the expectation of an up-front refundable security deposit. This is typically equal to one month’s rent. Prospective condo tenants should also expect to pay their first month’s rent at lease signing.
In addition to the security deposit, prospective tenants can expect to pay a condo association non-refundable move-in fee. This fee is anywhere from $100 to upwards of $1000 depending on the property. However, most move-in fees are below $300.
Typically pet deposits are covered by your security deposit. If you have a big dog or multiple pets, you might be asked to provide a little extra security deposit to cover any wear and tear.
Utilities in condos vary. If a utility is included in a condo owner’s assessments (the monthly fee a condo owner pays to its association), then that utility is included in your rent. Each condo rental is different and you should be sure to ask and clarify what is included in rent and what you’ll be expected to pay for.
As with the managed buildings, amenities at a condo building are for resident use and enjoyment without additional payment.
There is no fee to use our service to rent an apartment in downtown Chicago. Luxury Living Chicago Realty will happily show you both types of properties and will work closely with you to maximize your budget and find you an apartment that best suits your lifestyle.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.