Lease Renewal: To Move Or Not To Move….

Spring is here (well almost) and your lease is about to end. You’ve received your apartment renewal notice.  The decision is on: to move or not to move.

By asking yourself a few of the key questions below you can start the process of deciding whether you should stay or start packing your bags.

  • Has my rent increased?
  • Does the rent increase seem reasonable?  (Some rental companies are raising rents by 12% in light of a high demand and rising costs associated with owning and operating rental units so do some research and know what rent increases are going for in your area.)
  • What are other local apartments renting for?
  • Are those apartments/services comparable to your present apartment?
  • How much will moving cost?
  • Does it make sense, financially, to move? (Take time to do the math – moving costs money so saving $50 a month may sound good initially but if the cost plus your time and efforts don’t equal out then it may not make “cents” to move.) provides tenants 50 – 60 days written notification when a lease needs to be renewed and require a response no later than 30 days before the term of the lease ends in order for your lease to be renewed. If you decide not to renew but want to move to another property then a written notification is required.

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Money, Moving,, lease | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ridgeland Commons Has Gone To The Dogs!

The Park District of Oak Park celebrated the grand opening of its’ newly renovated recreational space at Ridgeland Commons this past Saturday.

For all of our dog loving and owning tenants this means access to an off leash, permit only, dog park for you and your four legged friend.  The dog park renovation includes a crushed granite surface, benches, canine water fountain, evening lighting, doggie waste bags, electronic entry system in a fully fenced environment.

Dog park hours are from sunrise to 10:00pm, seven days a week. You can gain access to the park through the electronic gate with a permit key card system. Permits are available to Oak Park residents only and can be purchased at the Park District of Oak Park’s administrative offices at 218 Madison St.  

Permit pricing is as follows: $25 for the first dog, $5 for each additional dogs, with a limit of three dogs per home or one dog per apartment (in keeping with Village restrictions on dog ownership).  Additionally, a refundable deposit of $10 is also due for new permit holders for the gate access card.

Requirements for purchasing a dog park pass:

  • You must be an Oak Park resident.
  • The dog limit is three dogs per home or 1 dog per apartment.
  • Each dog must be registered with the village and have a valid village dog license tag.
  • You must provide proof of current vaccinations for rabies, distemper, kennel cough/bordetella, para-influenza and parvovirus.
  • You must provide proof of a fecal test for intestinal parasites within the last year at the time of registration.
Posted in 2014, Oak Park Park District, Oak Park Pet Regulations, Pet Friendly Oak Park Apartments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Renew Your Pet’s License Online

Oak Park is a pet friendly place to call home and the Village just made owning a pet that much more friendly by establishing an online license renewal service to help simplify the yearly license renewal process for pet owners.

Below are Oak Park’s rules regarding pet licensure:

  • Oak Park requires that all dogs and cats older then four months old be licensed.
  • Pet licenses must be purchased within 10 days of getting a new dog or cat.
  • All dogs and cats must wear their license tags.
  • Indoor only cats are the only exception to the licensure rules.
  • Pet licenses must be renewed yearly.
  • Pet licenses must be display on your pet by May 1st.

Along with making the pet licensing renewal process easier, the Village’s new system also allows pet owners to delete pets they no longer own, add new pets to their list and pay for the renewal online.

Once the online renewal process is complete pet owners will receive an e-mail receipt and pet tags will be delivered via U.S. Mail.

Pet owners still have the option of mailing in their payment or going directly to Village Hall, 123 Madison St., to renew their pet’s license.

For more information or questions on pet licensure contact the Village directly at 708.358.5680 or e-mail

Posted in 2014, Oak Park Pet Regulations, Pet Friendly Oak Park Apartments, Village of Oak Park | Tagged | Leave a comment Goes Smoke Free

The anti-smoking movement has become a part of everyday life.  As of 2008, when the Smoke Free Illinois Act went into effect, smokers became instantly unable to light up at their jobs, restaurants, bars, museums, libraries, schools, stores… pretty much everywhere.

The effects of second hand smoke is a known health hazard. Inhaling second hand smoke has caused cases of respiratory problems, asthma, coronary heart disease, lung cancer and even death in those who have NEVER smoked a cigarette a day in their lives.

Since eliminating indoor second hand smoke is the only sure way to protect people from the hazards of second hand smoke, over the past year, has made the decision to go smoke free at all of our properties.

In order to achieve a smoke free environment we have enlisted our tenants support by asking them to sign a lease addendum stating that they, the tenant, acknowledge that the apartments have been designated as a smoke-free living environment and they, and all who live with and visit them, agree not to smoke anywhere in the unit, the common areas or adjoining building grounds. is proud to say that over this past year we are nearly 100% smoke free!

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hole In The Wall Help

Knowing how to patch a simple nail hole is a necessary life skill when renting an apartment. By following these drywall repair tips you can help ensure that you will get your security deposit back at the end of your lease.

First you will need to purchase a putty knife, spackle or wall joint compound and fine grain sand paper.

Then you will need to remove all nails/screws from the walls that will need patching.

Next, prep the area by flattening any raised edges so your wall surface is smooth.

Finally, add the spackle and spread evenly to cover the hole.  Let dry and apply a second coat. Let dry again.  Sand rough spots.  Prime and paint. Done.

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Moving | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Technology Keeps OPA Tenants Warm This Winter owns and operates vintage apartment buildings.  And though our properties boast vintage charm OPA’s heatings systems have recentlybecome very hi-tech.

By adding state-of-the-art boiler monitoring systems and controls to all of the boilers at all of our properties, has been able to remotely check to see how effectively each boiler is running as well as what the temperature is at individual apartments, all via computer – 24/7.

Being able to monitor our boilers through the use of sophisticated computer software technology allows OPA to keep tenants apartments at a comfortable temperature throughout the entire heating season.

Not only can individual boilers be monitored, the system also allows for our maintenance department to trouble shoot and catch a problem before it becomes an issue.

With the winter of 2013 – 2014 going down in the record books as one of the top three coldest in record keeping history it is good to know that has invested in the heating systems at our vintage properties – making sure that those same properties provide 21st century comfort.

Computer Software Boiler Monitoring Technology

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Cold weather, | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Taxman Cometh

The April 15th tax deadline is just a little more then six weeks away.  The winter weather is not improving, the Sochi Olympics are over and Downtown Abbey has just had its’ season finale… so what do you do with all your new found free time?

Get started on your taxes.  Yes, that sounds about as fun as a root canal but the reality is that by doing a little bit of organizing now (the weather is still miserable) you will appreciate getting organized early when April rolls around.  Plus your organizational efforts will make doing your taxes much less stressful while helping to avoid any surprises.

  • Research.  By going to the IRS’s website you will have all the latest tax information and
  • Gather information: W-2 forms from work, any tax related investment documentation, receipts for charitable deductions, etc.
  • Know what IRS forms you’ll need to fill out.  Are you self-employed or have complex investments?  If so there will be additional paperwork you are required to complete.
  • Know what you can deduct.  The more you can deduct from your tax form (in a legal and law-abiding way, of course) the less money you will owe in taxes.  So it pays to take the time to understand what deductions you will qualify for.

And, finally – if you are well organized and get your taxes completed early then you know whether you can expect a refund or need to start socking away some $$ for the tax man!

Posted in 2014, Cold weather, Money, Organization | Tagged | Leave a comment

It’s Been A Long, Cold Winter Oak Park!

This year’s winter is ranked as the coldest in 30 years as well as the third snowiest and, though there is some hope for better weather later in the week, today’s weather has definitely put a damper on our optimism.

As the snow and cold keep coming continues to work diligently at removing snow and keeping all heating systems running efficiently for the benefit of our tenants.

OPA wants our tenants to be safe and comfortable but with this year’s winter weather proving to be such a challenge, we need to ask for your help.

  • During the continued snowy, icy weather please use the covered front stairway when going to and from your apartment. Back porches freeze easily and can be a slipping hazard once temps go below 32 degrees. (And we all know the thermometer hasn’t risen above 32 in quite some time!)
  • Please, please, please remove window air conditioning units and fully close your storm windows otherwise your apartment will be cold. No apartment with a window air conditioning unit still in/storm window open can stay warm during this winter’s extreme cold no matter how high the heat is cranked.

Be safe, be warm.  Know that our maintenance crew has been working round the clock (literally) to make sure sidewalks, porches and parking lots are as clear as mother nature will allow as well as keeping the boilers running at over 40 buildings in a winter where average temps are running ten+ degrees below normal and where there have been multiple days that have plummeted to dangerously cold negative numbers.

Posted in 2014, Chicago, Cold weather,, Safety, Village of Oak Park | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Roommate Compatibility

Night owl, party animal, Oscar Madison or just a plain old deadbeat.  How do you know a potential roommates personality and whether or not your likely to get along?

Compatibility may be the key to finding someone you can happily share space with. Taking a roommate compatibility quiz can be your pre-lease lifesaver when looking to co-habitate.

First, take the quiz yourself before you talk to any possible roommate contenders – be honest.  Once you’ve established your own set of roommate criteria then start the search for potential roomies.  Then have any candidates take the test as well and match up your answers.

You may not have to be perfectly in sync on every question but you don’t want to be polar opposites either!

Posted in 2014, Apartment Living, Roommates | Tagged | Leave a comment

DIY Those Blahs Away

Winter blahs.  How can you beat the blahs.  Decorate. Yes, having a project can take your focus off the worst of the winter weather.

“O.k.”, you say as you somewhat buy into this plan to defeat the winter doldrums, “What can I do to my apartment that won’t just have to be undone at the end of my lease or cost me an arm and a leg?”

Well here’s some affordable, take with you, ideas to pick from:

  • Removable wall paper.  An easy and affordable way to brighten up a wall in your apartment.  Plus, if and when you move, you can easily take it with you where ever you go.
  • Paint.  No, not your apartment walls, but your furniture.  Turn that old bookcase, headboard or t.v. stand into something refreshed with a bright painted hue.
  • Mirrors.  Add a mirror opposite a window to help reflect the natural light and reflect back into your apartment. Mirrors also make any space appear larger. Large or small, grouped together or solo, mirrors are a great decorating option.
  • Curtains.  Looking for a splash of color to brighten up a bland beige apartment wall without breaking the bank, curtains are a great inexpensive options. Or better yet make your own with out needing to sew a stitch.
  • Art.  Create visual interest in your place by making your own DIY wall art projects.

Whether you choose to try one or all of’s DIY decorating suggestions you will enjoy creating an affordably designed space that is uniquely your own as you while away the winter hours until next thing you know it is spring!!

Posted in 2014, Cold weather, Design, Fun, | Tagged | Leave a comment