Being A Renter
Being a new tenant can post a set of new challenges and opportunities. Below are important factors when adjusting to apartment life.
Before you move into your new apartment, make a checklist of needed items. Talk with your roommates about which household items each person will contribute to the apartment.
Make sure your utilities are set up and working properly before you move in. If you have any questions about gas, electricity, phone, or Internet service ask your landlord.
Gas and Electricity
Verify that you need both gas and electricity. Many Chicago apartments use gas for heat and appliances, and electricity for light, but some may use only electricity. Ask if the bills should be transferred to your name. Some landlords prefer to transfer bills to the tenant’s name. Other landlords may keep the bills under their names and inform the tenants of the monthly cost.
To set up or transfer the gas service to your name:
- Call Chicago’s gas company, Peoples Gas, at 866.556.6001 or visit peoplesgasdelivery.com.
- If the gas is already turned on and your appliances and heat work, then the pilot lights are lit. Tell the company that you are the new occupant and they will transfer the bill to your name. There is a small fee for this service.
- If the gas is not turned on and your appliances do not work, a representative from the gas company must come over to your home to light the pilot lights and check the appliances for safety. There is a small fee for this service.
- A monthly bill will be sent to you, and you can either pay the amount online if you have online banking, through the mail with a check, or in person at the nearest Peoples Gas office.
To set up or transfer electricity service:
- Call Chicago’s electric company, ComEd, at 800.334.7661 or visit comed.com.
- Tell the representative that you have moved into a new apartment and need service. Answer questions about your new address, telephone number, etc.
- No fee is charged to turn on the electricity. You will receive a monthly bill indicating the amount of electricity you use.
- Pay your bill online, through the mail with a check, or in person at the nearest ComEd office.
Renters insurance provides reimbursement if an apartment is vandalized or damaged, and applies to all tenants who are renting the insured apartment. Most insurance policies include liability coverage and personal property coverage. Liability coverage protects you if someone were to get hurt in your apartment. Personal property coverage provides protection for furniture, clothing, appliances, and other items mentioned in the policy. Selected valuable items like computers or jewelry may require additional insurance. If you are interested in renters insurance, ask your auto insurance company if it offers renters insurance. Many of these insurance companies offer renters insurance at a discounted price. You may research the availability of renter’s insurance with alternative insurance companies.
For as little as $15 per month you can obtain renter’s insurance and protect your valuables. If you speak with an agent about renters insurance, be ready to answer the following questions:
- How old is the building? Is the building wood, brick or steel?
- How many units and floors are in the building?
- Where are the smoke detectors?
- Where is the nearest fire hydrant?
- Is there a security system?
- What type of locks are inside and outside the doors?
Dependent students may be covered under their parent’s insurance. Ask your parents if you need renters insurance. Look for renters insurance that covers the “cost of replacement” rather than the value. The cost of replacing your television set may be higher than the dollar value amount when it was purchased.
In recent years, the greater Chicagoland area has seen an increase in the number of bed bug cases. To reduce the chances of an infestation carefully inspect used furniture and avoid taking items, like couches and mattresses, from alleys.
If after move-in you are having conflicts with your landlord or he/she is not maintaining the apartment so that there is a possible danger to your health or safety, you have a few resources available to you:
- The Metropolitan Tenants Organization: 773.292.4988
- Rogers Park Community Council: 773.338.7722
- Edgewater Community Council: 773.334.5609
If you have additional questions or concerns, contact the Office of Off-Campus Student Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living away from home or the residence halls for the first time is an exciting time that brings many new experiences. It also brings new responsibilities because you will be living independently. Moving into an apartment means that you could be living in a diverse community, possibly with families or professionals who live different lifestyles than college students. Respecting others and compromising will help you contribute to a safe and peaceful environment.
Good Neighbor Policy
As a resident of the city of Chicago, you are expected to abide by city laws and ordinances. As a Loyola student, you are responsible for respecting Loyola’s “Good Neighbor Policy,” which states:
“Students are expected to conduct themselves as mature and responsible members of the Chicago and university communities. As such, they are responsible for upholding all federal, state and city laws and ordinances, especially those relating to noise, traffic, parking, zoning and consumption of alcohol. In addition, as responsible members of society, they are expected to foster an atmosphere that nurtures positive educational pursuits, the development of understanding and tolerance of those with different cultural and political points of view and an environment that encourages responsible behavior in the community.”
If a problem arises, the Off-Campus Student Life Office and the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution work with students to mediate issues or concerns with neighbors. In situations in which there seem to be lifestyle differences, Loyola tries to help students and neighbors find ways to communicate concerns with one another. Loyola also encourages you to develop relationships with your neighbors. When you first move into your new apartment and neighborhood:
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors, exchange contact information and communicate expectations to each other.
- Establish good rapport by remembering to say hello or waving when you see neighbors.
- Share information about campus events including performances, games, or speakers at Loyola. Neighbors may enjoy being included in the Loyola community.
- Be an active neighbor by participating in neighborhood programs such as block clubs or CAPS meetings. Remember that you are a part of the community and it is in your best interest to help make your community a safer and more peaceful place to live. Ask your landlord about block club meetings. Loyola University Chicago takes disruptions in the community very seriously. The Off -Campus Student Life Office follows up on all reported alleged disruptions. When appropriate, incidents are referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict resolution. Possible sanctions include University Probation, fines (starting at $500), and community service.
Good Samaritan Policy
At Loyola University Chicago, student safety is a paramount concern. In incidents of crisis or medical emergency, Loyola students are expected to care for themselves and for others in the Loyola community by getting help from appropriate officials even when violations of the Community Standards have occurred. Because the University understands that fear of disciplinary actions may deter requests for emergency assistance, the Good Samaritan Policy was created to alleviate such concerns and reduce hesitation by Loyola students to seek help.
In crisis situations involving alcohol, drugs, and/or sexual misconduct (see below), the University strongly considers the positive impact of taking responsible action when determining the appropriate response for alleged policy violations relating to the incident. This means that no formal University disciplinary actions or sanctions will be assigned to the reporting student(s) for (1) Category A alcohol or (2) Category A or B drug infractions relating to the incident. The incident will still be documented; and educational and/or health interventions may be required as a condition of deferring disciplinary sanctions.
This policy does not protect repeated, flagrant, or serious violations of the Community Standards (including bodily harm, sexual misconduct, distribution of alcohol or drugs, hazing, theft, property damage, etc.) or violations that caused harm to another person requiring emergency response, nor does the policy preclude or prevent action by police or legal authorities.
Failure of students to take responsible action under this policy where action is clearly warranted and harm results may, in egregious circumstances, constitute “bodily harm” under the Community Standards and will void all protections under this provision.
In a situation involving imminent danger to the health and safety of any individual(s), students are expected (1) to contact Campus Safety (773.508.6039 or 8.6039 from a campus phone), Residence Life, or other emergency officials to report the incident; (2) to remain with the individual(s) needing emergency treatment and cooperate with emergency personnel as long as it is safe to do so; and (3) to meet with appropriate University officials after the incident and cooperate with any University investigation.
2. Sexual Assault
In a situation where a sexual assault (“nonconsensual sexual intercourse” or “nonconsensual sexual contact” according to the Community Standards) has been alleged to have been committed against any individual(s), students are encouraged to follow steps 1–3 under “Alcohol/Drugs” above. (Adapted from The Student Handbook pages 12–17)
Loyola’s Department of Campus Safety
Loyola’s Department of Campus Safety is a licensed police department recognized by the State of Illinois. As such, our police force responds to calls and complaints in the Rogers Park and Edgewater Communities. Loyola’s official police boundaries are between Glenwood (western boundary) & Lake Michigan (eastern boundary) and Pratt (northern boundary) and Glenlake (southern boundary). If you live within these boundaries you may contact Loyola’s dispatch for assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 773.508.6039.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Many crimes occur “under the noses” of people who did not notice anything suspicious. Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility. You can reduce the possibility of becoming a crime statistic by being alert to your environment. If you notice anything suspicious such as strangers loitering or suspicious behavior, then contact the police department. Call 911 anytime you need police attention whether it is for potentially dangerous or non-emergency situations. You should not hesitate to call the police when attention is needed.
Learn more about safety and the surrounding Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods by taking a Hot Spots Tour, lead by a crime prevention specialist, who discusses personal safety and gives students a 45-minute ride through the neighborhood after dark in the comfort of a campus van. To schedule a Hot Spots Tour, contact Loyola’s Campus Safety Department at 773.508.2462 or e-mail email@example.com. For other safety updates and information, check out LUC.edu/safety. To read crime reports about Chicago, visit the Chicago Police Department website at chicagopolice.org.
Attend CAPS Meetings
Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) is a partnership between the police and the community formed to identify and solve neighborhood crime problems. By attending a CAPS meeting, an open forum to the public for communication and awareness, individuals may discuss issues in their neighborhood with the police, as well as receive input and updates from the police.
The CAPS meeting schedule is available on the Chicago Police Department website: chicagopolice.org. For any questions about CAPS meetings, please call Community Policing at 312.744.6321.
Contact Your Alderman
In addition to being aware of your surroundings and attending CAPS meetings, students may also contact their aldermen to deal with community issues. Aldermen are elected officials who represent neighborhoods. They are responsible for dealing with neighborhood infrastructure issues, including trash removal, lighting, traffic, building violations and more. Aldermen also collaborate closely with the police to follow up on and prevent crime. For example, aldermen may have efforts underway to deal with gangs, drugs, loitering, and prostitution.
Aldermen also address whatever concerns and ideas for improvement that may develop from organized block clubs, in which neighbors meet and discuss relevant topics. A block club usually has a representative who brings ideas for improvement to the alderman. Aldermen have jurisdiction over set geographic areas, called Wards. Wards 40, 48 and 49 are located near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. To access maps of Chicago Wards, visit www.cityofchicago.org. Click on the “About Chicago” link.
Everyone has the right to host a social gathering or a party. When friends come to your apartment, remind yourself and your guests about respecting your neighbors. Because many buildings near the Loyola Lake Shore Campus are close together and have thin walls, noise, and voices are easily heard in other apartments. Be aware of your surroundings and take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your guests.
- Never walk alone at night. Walk quietly in groups, keeping voices at a low level.
- Residents put a great deal of effort into maintaining their lawns. Try not to walk on lawns; use the sidewalks.
- Regardless of age, it is against the law to walk outdoors with an open container of alcohol.
- Don’t litter.
- Be able to see and be seen. Be aware of cars driving at night.
- Know your lease. Some leases have strict rules about parties. Contact your landlord in advance so they are aware that you will be having a social event.
- Keep your neighbors informed by asking them if they are comfortable with the dates and times you plan on throwing a party. Talk to your neighbors several days before the party date.
- Remember that you are responsible for all the actions of your guests. Invited or not, if they visit to attend a function you are holding, then you assume liability for them. Keep an eye on all guests and make sure they stay off neighbors’ property and that they get home safely.
- Keep your party inside after dark. Noise can easily carry from your porch, patio, or backyard and disturb neighbors. If you or your guests step outside to smoke be conscious of the noise level.
- Monitor noise levels. Keep doors and windows shut. It is a good idea to designate one person to consciously monitor noise and keep an eye on all guests.
- Promptly clean up after the party. This includes the trash in your apartment and on your lawn.
- Follow-up with neighbors to see how they felt about the party the prior night. Ask if they were disturbed or have any suggestions or concerns.
Be aware of alcohol-related laws and recommendations, including:
- It is illegal in the state of Illinois to provide alcohol to a person under age 21. The penalties are a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to one year in prison.
- It is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase, accept, possess, or consume alcohol. Penalties may include fines up to $2,500 and suspension or revocation of driving privileges for up to one year.
- You could be sued for third-party damages resulting from the actions of people who drink at your party.
- If you plan to serve alcohol, limit the amount you purchase and serve. Avoid hard liquor (shots or mixed drinks). If you have a keg, use 12 oz. cups versus. 16 oz. cups (a standard beer is 12 oz.).
- As a host, either don’t drink or limit yourself so that you can handle any problems before they escalate.
- Not everyone chooses to drink alcohol.
- Do not allow drinking games. Drinking too much too fast is dangerous.
- Serve food that has protein and fat (e.g., pizza) and encourage people to eat, especially if they are drinking alcohol. Avoid salty foods that promote thirst.
- Don’t allow intoxicated guests to drive. Call a taxi or have a designated driver.
- If a guest is intoxicated, keep that person with you until they have sobered up or can be left with a sober responsible person. Call 911 if the person shows any sign of alcohol poisoning (unresponsive, cold, clammy, pale or blue skin, irregular breathing with less than eight breaths per minute).
- Do not allow guests to leave with an open container of alcohol. It’s unlawful to have open containers on city streets and sidewalks.
- Do not allow anyone to use the outdoors as a restroom.
- Stop serving alcohol one hour before the party is scheduled to end. Continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Hosting a Party? Keep it fun... keep it safe.
Students want to have fun and socialize in college and throwing a party can be a great way to do that. Whether for fun, notoriety, extra cash or whatever, house or apartment parties have been a part of college life for generations. But it’s no secret that many party hosts, guests, and neighborhood residents have experienced harm related to students’ drinking at off-campus parties, such as injury, violence (including fights and sexual assault), property damage, noise, and fines. If you throw a party—not just a get-together with close friends—but loud music, kegs, drinking games, and line-out-the-door crowds, you may be contributing to these problems and putting yourself at risk for potentially costly consequences. The tips and information provided here are meant to help party hosts create an environment that is safe and fun for all.