The rent is too damn high! Plus Mean Stinks.

29 Mar

Well, it will be. Maybe. Do you know what I’m talking about? That cracks me up every time.

It’s no secret that I love our apartment. It’s 650 square feet of gorgeous 1920’s design and quirky architecture. I love the hardwood floors and molding. And I love our living room and dining room, where there’s lots of light. Let’s not talk about the 11×11 bedroom with one window that has a view of a brick wall about a foot away.

Let me give you a little tour:

This is our lovely living room. I adore the arched doorways and the windows. In the spring the trees out in the courtyard bloom with gorgeous white buds. I have no idea what kind of trees they are, but they kind of look like my own little cherry blossoms. I know next to nothing about trees, obviously, but they’re pretty.


And this is our cute nook of a dining room. I really wish it was about five to ten square feet larger so that I could comfortably fit a desk up against the window. Eventually I’d really like to get a desktop computer, but as of right now I have no place to put it. Either way, it’s a gorgeous place to sit down to dinner together and I love our cute little table.

And our living room (and miss Sunday) from the other side. If you look closely at the chair on the left side, you can see Zoey’s heated bed. She never leaves that thing.

Right now, we pay $1275 per month, which is a pretty good rate for what we have. We live in a great neighborhood with lots of shops and nightlife, about two blocks from the lake and Lincoln Park, and we’re only a little over a mile from my campus, so it’s an easy walk. Plus, laundry is free. FREE! No more stupid dryers not finishing on the first $1.90 cycle, and having to decide if I want damp clothes or to pay up. Sunday would like me to add that we’re a short walk away from Wigglyville, her favorite pet store ever.

The scary thing? I’ve been priced out of every apartment I’ve had in Chicago thus far. Back then it didn’t really matter, because my first apartment was absolute chaos for what ended up being a four-person living arrangement (two words: one bathroom) and the second apartment was a two-bedroom we shared with roommates, so it was much too big when we decided to live just the two of us.

We’ve been checking on Craigslist lately to see what things are going for in our area, and it’s not a pretty sight. I’m not sure if the rental market is just doing extraordinarily well because no one can afford to buy right now, or if we just rented a little bit out of our means and should have accounted for this, but I’m terrified that when our awesome landlord asks if we want to renew our lease, there’s going to be a hefty rent raise to go along with it. The problem is it’s really tough to find a decent, dog-friendly building around here, especially because we’re kind of picky people. We looked at about 15 apartments before finding this one, and we’re happy here.

For fellow renters, has this ever happened to you? Do you have any tips for negotiating renewals, or are we just stuck moving if it goes up too much?

On a happier note, my friend Jenna posted about Secret’s Mean Stinks campaign yesterday. (Yep, that’s me!) I love the idea, and wanted to turn around and pass along the love. One person in particular came to mind to highlight:

Steph from Forget Me (Not) is one of my absolute favorite bloggers. She’s sweet and funny, and I’m always excited to see that she’s posted. Her entries are always honest and heartfelt and I know from working with her on Operation Layla that she’s truly a generous person. I also covet her gorgeous red hair!

I love the message of Mean Stinks because I think it really highlights what can be so amazing about social media in spite of the nasty downsides like cyber bullying. I’ve come to “know” so many lovely girls on here, and I wish I could highlight all of you! Thanks for being so amazing.



23 Responses to “The rent is too damn high! Plus Mean Stinks.”

  1. Naomi C. March 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Hey Anni. I don’t know if you remember me, we met at a brunch meetup w/Jenna. I just found your blog from Jenna’s post yesterday and wanted to say HI!

    I totally understand the whole apartment situation. I lived in Lakeview for a while before getting married and it was pricey. After getting married, we decided to move a bit more out of the city (still in Chicago just not as close to the lake). It’s so much more affordable and we have so many more perks like the apartment size, parking, laundry, etc. I don’t know if that’s an option for you. We live right off the blue line, so it’s still easy to get around if you didn’t have a car.

    But Lincoln Park is a great part of the city. I do miss all of the restaurants and shops within walking distance.

    • Anni March 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Hey Naomi! I do remember you. I tried to find your blog but somehow lost the notecard you wrote it down for me on, so I’m glad you found me. πŸ™‚

      Moving out of Lakeview is a definite possibility for us soon, although I think right now location is a bigger priority for us than a nice apartment. I just love not relying on a car or having to transfer train/bus lines. But it’s definitely something to keep in mind!

  2. Megan March 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Your apartment is GOREGOUS! I hope you can stay. Can you be grandfathered in since you were there before the rates went up? I don’t know, we don’t rent, so I’m not sure how that works. 😦

    • Anni March 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Me too. πŸ™‚ Our landlord is actually wonderful, but it’s just her condo she’s renting out to us. So things like special assessments and property taxes may force her to raise the rent, which wouldn’t be her fault but would suck for us.

  3. Dancy March 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Random thoughts:
    – That “rent is too high” dude came into our offices once. I have ZERO idea why. LOL
    – I luuurve your couch
    – You wanna talk high rent? Come to NY lovey. We live 10m above the Bronx in a 1bdrm and I pay $1400… Our landlord rules though & cut us a sweet deal. He’s also my Dad. LOL

  4. Laura March 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    We rent, and when we got our lease renewal I negotiated the increase. We are good tenants, we are clean, we aren’t loud, we don’t complain, we both have stable jobs, and we take good care of the place. We are the perfect tenants. I asked them to cut the rate increase by 50%, showing that most apartments in the area were vacant for 30-45 days. They obliged, because they knew I was right. I also got a complex to reduce the rent once by agreeing to sign a 15 month lease instead of a 12 month lease. Good luck!

  5. Hannah March 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    We have had the exact op happen to us! We loved our place last year and decided to renew pretty early. We live in a college neighborhood where prices can vary a lot from year to year and our complex decided to drop the rent $75 for the other units not yet rented out.

    This wouldn’t have been a big problem as we had the nicest most updated apartment except that the hubby got a new job and we needed an office – subleasing for $75 more than the rest was almost impossible!

    I just hate renting, but the housing market seems just as scary! Good luck lady.

  6. Jessica @ One Shiny Star March 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    If you do have to move, consider using a Realtor. Their fee is typically paid by the person listing the place, so it would be free to you, and you would be able to find something that isn’t super publicized on the web. I know it seems like something you only do when looking for a house, but especially with city living, a lot of people will list their apartment/condo with a Realtor.

    Good luck!

  7. Steph March 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Oh my gosh I’m flattered, thank you for the wonderful shout out – I will be sure to contribute to this tomorrow!!

    Also: at our last apartment, we were told that our rent would increase by $100 when it came time to renew our lease; when we said that we weren’t renewing and were moving out, they dropped it by $200.. when we still said no, another $100 came off. I’m sure the housing/rental situation of our local area had a lot to do with it at the time, but it’s something to think about. Sometimes buildings are so desperate to keep you there, that they will negotiate with you. Another thing to think about is to see if your building will give you a deal if you sign a new lease for another year and a half or two years – our current place did this for us. 18 month lease = about $150 less per month than we were paying last year!

  8. Kelsey March 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Um..your place is absolutely beautiful!! I love it!! I don’t have to deal with these issues now since I’m in Austin, but the rental market when I lived in Boston was a huge pain in the ass!

  9. Erin March 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Ooh, I love your place! It is really nice! And you have furnished it so well– I wish I could have a less cluttered and more stylish way of decorating like that.

    I do think there are so great parts of Lincoln Park & Lakeview… but there are so many other neighborhoods out there to explore. We live in Lincoln Square, and I can’t say enough good things about it. Being off the brown line is convenient and less full of weird people than the blue or red lines. Lincoln has a great mix of shops, dining, etc up this way too. It’s still totally a city area… a little further away from teh loop, and maybe more ‘neighborhood’ like, but fun and comfortable. We own our place, so I can’t speak specifically for the rent, but I bet you could find a good deal up this way. (that being said, I don’t blame you if neighborhood is the top priority… a little smaller or less nice could be ok to stay in that hood)

  10. Liz March 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I haven’t lived in LP since 2005…but this is right during the times where they were starting to build all the mansions on armitage…but yikes you pay a lot…for one bedroom!?? I think overall city living is getting $$$…taxes..heat…etc…and everyone wants to live around there so they don’t mind bumping the prices.

    • Anni March 30, 2011 at 7:02 am #

      Rents have definitely gone up. I moved here in 2008, and we paid $1400 for a two bedroom on Addison and Broadway.

      I think that it didn’t help that we move during peak time (our lease is June 1st) and we do have a few things we won’t budge on, including a cat- and dog-friendly place with hardwood flooring. There were a lot of cheaper listings in Wrigleyville and that area, and my cousin rented an awesome one bedroom for only $1000 a month at Broadway and Irving Park, but it was cats only. Plus we have free laundry, and we definitely make the most of that. πŸ™‚ This year it seems like everywhere that meets our criteria is at least $1300 to $1450. But I’m sure you could still do it for cheaper if you were willing to give up certain luxuries.

  11. Jessica March 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    You have done an amazing job decorating your apartment. When you come visit, decorate my house? πŸ˜€

    Steph is the bees knees, love that girl.

  12. Emily B March 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Your apartment is SO CUTE! Looove the arched doorways. I know all about too damn high rent. Living in the DC area is probably much like living in Chicago. Our apartment is 1050 sq. ft and we pay $1,900 I think. But we saw apartments here that were the size of yours and asked like $1,400-$1,600 and we just couldn’t do that. I need space and if I’m paying that much $$ I better get as much bang for my buck as possible. Here’s hoping your rent doesn’t go up!!

  13. Abby March 30, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Your apartment is so lovely! πŸ™‚ I love the archway between your living room & your dining room. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that everything works out for you with the rent! πŸ™‚ (also, your title made me laugh!)

  14. Maddie March 30, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I love your placeβ€”that gray on the walls is exactly what I’ve got planned for my future apartment! πŸ™‚

    But I agree with Dancy. I just moved here from a more expensive city too (Washington, D.C.), and so Chicago rents look great by comparison! Even so, I’m planning to find a place slightly north of the (gorgeous) Lakeview/Lincoln Park neighborhoods, probably in Andersonville, to enjoy city life at a slightly lower cost. While you lose a bit on accessibility, you definitely gain on affordability!

    • Anni March 30, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      Yeah, I should have been clearer that the title of the post was more about how much I love the rent is too damn high guy. Also that it’s getting to the point where we’re getting outpriced, because we’re still full-time students with part-time jobs, and I’m trying to start up a photogrpahy business. So for us, the rent is kind of too damn high. πŸ˜‰

  15. Marissa March 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Your apt is drop dead beeeaaa-uuuu-tiiii-ful. Its full of charm and personality. When/if your landlord raised the $$ would you be open to discussing different options/negotiations? My dads always says, ‘everything is open for negotiation!’ I am sorry I don’t have much advice, the last place I rented was over 4 yrs ago in Manhattan Bch CA, the rent there was/is ca-raazy!

  16. Kristin March 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    I love the rent is too damn high guy! We pay $1,450 a month for a two bedroom and we are VERY, VERY lucky to be paying this. Most places in the city cost that much for a tiny one bedroom. I guess we are not so lucky in that if you want a cheapish, rent safe place I’ve got one word for you: SUBURB. And here’s more words for you: KISS YOUR SOCIAL LIFE GOOD BYE! Your place is super cute though, and if I were you I would never leave πŸ™‚

  17. Tara March 31, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Hi! I just came across your blog and this is a topic that I have dealt with a lot! My husband and I use to live in Lincoln Park with our dogs and loved it but the rent is absolutely higher there. Has your landlord said they are planning to raise your rent? Ours went up by $10 this year so was not at all an issue (but we live in Roscoe Village). If they do raise it there are lots of really cute affordable places in other neighborhoods (like Lincoln Square, North Center, Roscoe Village, etc).

  18. Layla April 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Jeeeeeez Anni!! I love your apartment!!!! That’s all.


  1. The bedroom conundrum. « Lincoln Park on a Lark - April 14, 2011

    […] few weeks ago, I showed you our gorgeous apartment. I neglected to include our bedroom in any of those photos, though. […]

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