My best advice is to know your rights as a renter. If you are looking to rent in Cook County, the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance gives tenants a good summary of their rights and also offers remedies when a landlord does not abide by the terms of the lease. It is a powerful tool. Read it and keep a copy. A summary of it should be attached to your lease. You should also take photos of the condition of the unit prior to moving in. Finally, hire a broker/attorney who can guide you through the whole process at no cost to the renter.