StudentSpace is a free apartment finding service located in the Streeterville area. They are available to help you find the perfect apartment in the city.
There is limited University family housing in Evanston. Please call the Graduate Housing Office at (847) 491-5127 for more information about that process.
Housing options near campus:
Am I required to live on campus?
No, you may choose to live off campus as well. However, most students prefer to live closer to the Law School because of the proximity to the library, classes, and the downtown environment. Transportation to campus from neighborhoods is available via public transportation (students receive a UPass, good only when school is in session) or by private transport.
What if I prefer to live outside the downtown area?
Some students chose to live in the surrounding neighborhoods, such as Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, Bucktown/Wicker Park, Lakeview, Old Town, and River North. Typically, these locations are supplied with three-flat apartment buildings, some loft living and mid-rise buildings. However, the cost for living in these locations can be around 10 percent higher than in the Streeterville area. These areas are popular for bars and a neighborhood "feel;" however, students often choose to frequent these areas on weekends rather than have to deal with the daily commute downtown. StudentSpace does offer numerous housing options along Dearborn Avenue for students who want to live closer to the nightlife of the Rush and Division area, but would prefer a minimal walk (10-12 min) to campus.
When should I start looking for apartments?
Generally, available apartments are advertised 6 weeks to 2 months before the current tenant's lease expires. Thus, for a rental lease that begins in June, a student should start looking for apartments in early to mid-April.
What is a High-rise or Mid-rise apartment building? Walk-ups?
High-rise and mid-rise buildings are typical for the Law School's Streeterville location. They are multi-story buildings with many apartment units. These buildings typically offer amenities and some utilities as part of the rent but usually will not provide meal plans. Walk-ups are the traditional Chicago "3 flat" buildings (3 apartments, 1 per floor). Utilities are usually the responsibility of the tenant and the landlord is often an individual rather than a real estate company.
What is a studio? convertible? 1 bedroom? 2 bedroom?
|Studio||A smaller open-spaced apartment without a separated bedroom.|
|Convertible||In between a studio and 1 bedroom as there is a "half wall" or "separation" that partially offsets the area for a bed.|
|1 Bedroom||A separated one bedroom and main living area|
|2 Bedroom||Two separated bedrooms from the main living area|
How far are most apartments and how long will it take to walk/commute to school?
There are numerous apartment buildings within .25 miles of school (about a 3 to 4 minute walk).
What's the application process like?
You will first be asked to fill out an application form. Many times a fee, associated with a credit report check, will be assessed as well (about $25-$50). Most campus area landlords require a student under the age of 23 to have a co-signor (typically a parent or guardian).
Once your application has been approved, you will then be asked to sign a lease. Make sure to read the lease thoroughly before signing. Remember, leases are negotiable documents, as long as you and the landlord agree to the terms and both sign off on the lease.
After signing the lease, your co-signor (if needed) will also be asked to sign the lease. Basically this is assurance to the landlord that if the student tenants are not able to pay the rent, that they as a co-signor will be held responsible for covering the costs.
Typically, after signing the lease, the landlord will ask that you pay a security deposit.
Once all documents have been signed, make sure to keep a copy of everything!
Do I have to pay the security deposit?
Often a room reservation/security deposit is required of all new nonresidents who wish to reserve rooms in residences. The deposit is typically equivalent to one month's rent. The security deposit is refundable, with market interest, as long as the property is returned in the same condition as it was received. Some landlords may ask for not only the security deposit, but also the first month's rent up front.
What is a lease, lessor, lessee? What are the average lengths of the leases? How do I terminate a lease?
A lease is a contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified time for a specified payment; it is a property that is rented out by a contract.
You (the tenant) are the "lessee." Your landlord is the "lessor." Leases are generally year-to-year or for a "fixed term." Fixed term leases begin and end on a set date. Your lease should clearly state the lease term. Shortened leases may be more expensive.
Month-to-month leases and year-to-year leases may automatically renew unless either party gives proper notice of termination. To terminate a lease, one should inquire as to the lessor's terms of notification.
Your lease should state how much rent is due each month, when it is due, and where it should be paid. The lease may also state how rent is to be paid, such as by personal check or money order. You should not pay rent in cash, because it is more difficult to track payments.
Can I sublet?
Often a building will require a one-year lease and will be unwilling to negotiate a shorter term lease. If a student plans on leaving for the summer or needs to leave a lease early, they may want to sublet their apartment.
What about Short-Term and Guest Housing (overnight to 1 month)?
Northwestern University does not offer short-term and guest housing near campus. Off campus there are a handful of local buildings that handle overnight or month-to-month leases. Students should be aware that such housing arrangements are typically more expensive. Fully furnished short term housing may also be arranged.
How do I find a roommate?
Finding a roommate is often a cost effective way to live in an apartment. If you would like to find a roommate (or roommates) to share an apartment, check other popular resources such as craigslist.org and the Chicago Reader.
We strongly recommended that students sign a Roommate Contract with all roommates, even if you are friends prior to living together. A Roommate Contract allows one to be clear on expectations from the very beginning in order to avoid conflicts later on.
Where do most married couples live?
Most married couples chose to live in high-rise buildings surrounding the campus or choose to live in the Gold Coast or Lincoln Park areas where there is more of a neighborhood environment.
How safe is the neighborhood?
University Police patrol the residence hall and surrounding campus areas regularly. High-rise buildings in the surrounding areas typically have a 24-hour watchman, a required "check-in" system for visitors and surveillance systems. The Streeterville, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Wrigleyville neighborhoods are generally safe, however, students should always be cautious as they are in an urban environment.
Should I buy or rent furniture?
Many students choose to rent furniture rather than buy. Used furniture is often advertised on fliers by departing students at the end of the school year. You can also check craigslist.org or the Chicago Reader for furniture listings.
How is maintenance taken care of?
Generally, a high rise building will have a maintenance staff on location. For non-high rise building, a student should make inquiries with the landlord.
How do I get Wi-fi, cable, and phone services?
Buildings typically offer a broadband or DSL service to students for internet access. Most buildings are not fitted for wireless (Wi-fi) access. However, a student may purchase a wireless router and receive wireless if they chose. Students will be able to connect to the Northwestern network for e-mail with such services as well.
A building may or may not include cable as part of the rental costs. If not, a student can typically order a cable package from the service provider that handles the building.
Additionally, a land-line phone will likely not be included in the rental costs. However, students may contact a local phone provider for service. Typically internet, cable, and phone can be purchased as a single package. Students should inquire with their building's leasing office.
Can I have pets in my apartment?
This depends on the buildings and your landlord. Some buildings and landlords allow pets but may require an extra deposit.
Where do I park?
Some buildings have parking available for an additional charge. If you are living off campus, there is a parking garage 2 blocks from campus where students may park. Many students prefer not to have a car as many popular locations are within walking distance or an inexpensive cab or bus ride away.
How do I take public transportation?
Northwestern Law is located directly east of the Chicago Red Line Stop and near major CTA bus routes. Visit the Chicago Transportation Authority for details. Also, the Northwestern Campus Shuttle runs daily by the downtown campus. Pickup locations and the schedule are available through University Services.
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