Housing and Residence Life: Being a Responsible Neighbor
Living off campus differs in many ways from living at home or on campus. You will have a whole new measure of freedom. You will not have to live by your parents' curfew or residence hall quiet hours. But there are some do's and don'ts. Your landlord will impose a few rules on you, the law will give you some limitations, and let us not forget the people who are in some ways more important than either your landlord or the law—your neighbors.
The people living near your space will have a few things that they may want you to do, or may want you not to do. It is important to have an open line of communication with your neighbors as some of their preferences may not be written in a book or a pamphlet and can only be related by talking with them.
These preferences may be as small as how hard you close your door or as simple as not skateboarding in your living room. It is still your space (you're paying for it after all) but it is best to keep in mind that there will be people living next door, above, and/or below your apartment. On the other hand, you may not like their loud country music or their tiny barking dog. Most conflicts between student tenants and their neighbors center around excessive noise, rowdy gatherings, and large amounts of misplaced trash. Here is some important information on how to avoid confrontations with your neighbors.
It's rude, it's disturbing, and it's against the law! Loud music, noisy parties, and gatherings in excess of the building capacity are also violations of the Chicago City Code and of your lease agreement. All residential leases, whether explicitly stated or implied, contain a basic right: the right to "Quiet Enjoyment." While this ensures your right to quietly enjoy full possession and use of the premises, it also imposes on you the responsibility and obligation not to disturb your neighbors, whether they are the people next door or the people across the street. Some landlords attach to the lease a list of rules and regulations regarding noise, quiet hours, and prohibited behavior and clearly indicate that a breach of these rules is a breach of the lease. If you are in violation of your lease, the landlord will notify you of the violation. If after the notification the violation is repeated, the landlord can start eviction procedures against you. Respect your neighbor and your neighbor will respect you. For more information on noise policies in Chicago take a look at these sites:
Trash and Recycling
Disposing of waste properly is necessary not only for your home, but for your neighborhood and the environment. Excessive trash invites pests like rats into your apartment even if it's left outside. Plus no one wants to trip over garbage after or before a long day of work or school. Neighborhood trash and recycling policies vary, so be sure to check on your neighborhood's status at the Department of Sanitation and Waste Reduction.
In addition to helping you to get along in your new building or neighborhood, your neighbors can be your friends. If you need someone to watch your place while you are away, water your plants, or lend you a hammer, they can be there for you. They can also direct you to fun places in the neighborhood and great places for a delicious, inexpensive meal. So get to know your neighbors. It makes life more fun and safer. Respect their right to peace and quiet and keep your property clean and trash-free.