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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anne Rossley

A Chicago landlord honestly answers tenant questions

Written by
Nick Kotecki

On the condition of anonymity, a Chicago landlord answered questions we fielded from Time Out Chicago readers and others around the city.

Got a burning question? Email

I rent a one-bedroom apartment in a large complex. My monthly water bill is allocated based on the square footage I occupy, but the amount keeps going up, even though I use very little water. What gives?—Linda, Wicker Park

Check if they have water meters installed. Chicago uses an archaic method to calculate water usage based on square footage and the number of sinks and toilets in a residence. In the past few years, the city has encouraged residents to install water meters to help track the exact amount of water they use.

My building has roaches, and my unit gets sprayed every once in a while, but I don’t think they do the same for every unit or the entire building. Management hardly answers my emails or calls.—Kelleen, South Loop

Continue to contact management, and if the roaches are in your living space, put down traps and clean. If your calls go unanswered, follow up and document your efforts, in case you want to take a complaint to City Hall.

Who is responsible for mowing the lawn, me or my landlord? Sometimes she lets it go so long that I borrow my neighbor’s mower just to keep from being embarrassed.—Will, Irving Park

That would be your landlord, unless it’s specifically detailed as your job in the lease or rental contract. You should contact your landlord about this issue. You may even be able to negotiate a discount in rent if you offer to help with that task.

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