Rentals in 60660>Question Details

rderbie, Renter in Chicago, IL

why does it seem like no one wants a cha voucher in edgewater or rogers park? Some of us just have 2 smalls dogs want a nice place.

Asked by rderbie, Chicago, IL Tue Apr 16, 2013

we live here for 27 yrs my kids grad from senn high school. I don't think I should be told to move to englewood or garfield pk by realors. thats not nice.

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Hi, Rderbie:

If any Realtor actually told you that you "should move to Englewood or Garfield Park," or to any other neighborhood, for that matter, they're breaking the law prohibiting steering, that is, channeling people to particular neighborhoods based on their perception of "where they belong."

It's a crime and you should report it to the local Realtor association, in this case, the Chicago Association of Realtors. You also can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the state agency that issues real estate licenses. The IDFPR disciplines hundreds of licensees each year for violations of the state statute.

Regarding your question, I think many landlords might have more of a problem with your pets than with your voucher. As demand for rental housing in the city has increased dramatically over the past several years, so have rents and competition for vacant apartments.

Landlords, given a choice, most often will rent an apartment to a tenant without pets. Many landlords will not consider any applicant who has a pet, and explicitly state in the lease that no tenant may keep pets.

Why? Because there's a perception on the part of landlords (sometimes validated by experience) that tenants oftentimes don't control their pets, allowing them to damage the property and annoy neighbors. You'll need to find a landlord who likes animals and is pet-friendly.

Your housing voucher is another matter entirely. My colleague stated below that the housing voucher sets you in a protected class for the purposes of tenant screening. In Chicago, local ordinance states that "source of income" cannot be used to discriminate, as long as the source of that income is legal. Therefore, your housing subsidy must be considered just as any other income from work, Social Security, or pension benefits.

Under this standard, a person who earns, say $2000 monthly from employment is on the same footing as a person with a $700 housing voucher and $1300 in Social Security benefits. A landlord could still consider creditworthiness based on record of payment, but with regard to income they are essentially the same. Most landlords want tenants to keep housing expenses to no more than about 30% of gross (pre-tax) income.

One continuing issue with the Housing Voucher program is the inspection requirement. Many landlords are not willing to make any repairs the housing authority requires after inspection. Although the letter of the law requires landlords to accept your application without regard to Housing Voucher status, if they have another equally-qualified applicant who is not requiring an inspection or repairs, they likely will choose that applicant, since it potentially costs them less money and less risk.

There are landlords who understand the Housing Voucher program and welcome tenants who have a voucher. I agree with my colleague below who suggested that you ought to work with a Realtor who specializes in tenant representation.

Make sure the person you hire is licensed; they should show you their "pocket card" at your request, which is a copy of their state license. Beware of anyone who refuses to provide proof that they're licensed or says that they "work under" someone else's license -- this is illegal. Also beware of anyone who wants to charge you a fee upfront for service -- in almost all cases, it's the property owner who pays to have an apartment rented.

The only fees that tenants commonly pay are a nominal application fee (usually less than $25) and credit check/background check fee (also in the range of $25). These fees can vary from company to company, landlord to landlord, but should not be exorbitant.

The Housing Voucher program can be complicated and frustrating, but if you're patient (and get the help of a Realtor) you can find a good landlord in the area you wish to live. Good luck to you in your search!


Don Pasek, CIPS, TRC, ADPR
Omniterra Real Properties
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Terrible and unprofessional, the individual(s) makeing this statement should be reported to the local Realtor board. I hope you continue to be persistent in your search with other realtors, newspaper adds, and craig's list (be cautious with craig's list!)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 21, 2013
living in Englewood or Garfield Park will get you killed. bad advice. and yes it's discrimination. steering is NOT COOL.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 21, 2013
its called blatant housing discrimination
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
The reputation of the program is not good at this time. Landlords talk to each other and there is no need to accept the voucher since the rental market is so good in those neighborhoods. I am hoping that things turn around for the program but it will take some time.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
I would try on craigslist. This may be your best bet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Dear Renter,

I am in total agreement with you.

Unfortunately the low vacancy rate due to people being nervous about purchasing has resulted in a landlords market. One of the things you can do is walk the areas you would like to live in and see if you see landlord for rent signs. Make an appointment with the landlord to view the apartment and go from there.

Of course you can also work with brokers and leasing agents familiar with the voucher program. I would recommend doing both.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
You are in a protected from class in Chicago with a voucher but you need to work with a Realtor who
knows the ins and outs of the program. They can explain how it works and make a landlord comfortable with it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
The whole questions of Pets or otherwise is getting tougher, as this Rental market continues to gain traction with Apartment prices rising Owners are able to be more choosy with the terms of their Tenants, rightly or wrongly many Landlords would rather have Tenants without Pets and if there are multiple applications they might choose a potential Tenant without Pets over those with Pets. It might not seem fair but ultimately the home owner gets to choose these things. Gladly there are many Owners that are Pet Lovers too so eventually you will find something, just make sure that you ask your Realtor to send Listings that allow Pets and just to finish many buildings have Pet Count and Pet weight Policies that the Owners have to live with. So an owner might be happy with your Pets but the building might have Rules that do not allow certain small dog breeds like Chiwaw's etc. I hope this helps

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
You should never be told where you should live by anybody, Realtor or otherwise!

Everybody is entitled to live wherever they can afford.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Keep on knocking on doors and work with a Realtor who can assist you. A landlord and/or Realtor cannot deny you based solely on the Sec 8 Voucher.

Feel free to contact me should you need any assistance.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
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