Renting an Apartment in Chicago

Are you relocating to Chicago for studies and looking for a good place to live? We understand how grueling and expensive the moving process can get. But don’t worry, because we put together answers to some of the common questions we get from students looking to come to this amazing city.

Ready? Let’s dive straight in!

What are the best neighborhoods in Chicago for students?

Chicago has 9 districts with 77 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood offers its unique blend of culture, people, history, and social activities. The following are the five most popular locations for students in Chicago:

Wicker Park

Located in West Chicago, Wicker Park is the actual definition of jack of all trades. Here, you will find pretty much all types of people, from business owners to artists and families. Students love its youthful atmosphere as well as chic restaurants, art galleries, vintage boutiques, concerts, record stores, and high-end retailers.
University Village

Two communities coexist in the University Village: Little Italy and the University of Illinois. You will come across Italian ice parlors, street corner hotdog stands, and college students.

Young adults here mainly engage in college sports, festivals, and boutique shopping. The majority of students stay in townhouses, homes, and lofts. You can likewise take the Blue Line El Train for a couple of moments to more upscale lofts in midtown Chicago.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is a favorite location for those who can’t live without outdoor adventures. Here, you will find lots of places to explore including Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and Lincoln Hall. The famous DePaul University is also located in this area, which also adds a traditional college atmosphere.


Wrigley Field is probably more popular than the neighborhood itself, with the strong sports spirit it emits across Wrigleyville. Cubs season attracts college students, graduates, and baseball fans, as it brings tons of energy. Students will also fit in well in Wrigleyville because there are plenty of budget-friendly apartments here.


Finally, Boystown is among the oldest officially recognized LBGTQ+ communities, with many LBGTQ-owned businesses. Students are attracted to the fantastic selection of vegetarian restaurants, comedy clubs, and its thriving nightlife.

Which are the housing options for students in Chicago?

Chicago has some of the most affordable apartments in the US, which means you won’t have problems getting a place to stay. Check out these three most convenient choices:

Homestay accommodation

Here, a Chicago family will invite you to their home and care for your needs during the stay. The listed host families must undergo a background check, inspections, monthly check-ins, and interviews for safety purposes.

Shared apartments

Are you looking for company or already have friends to live with? Sharing an apartment is probably something to consider. It allows for shared responsibilities, food, and bills. Usually, these apartments provide a private room but with shared bathrooms and living spaces.

University residence

If you’re yearning for a traditional college experience, campus dorms can be a good option for you. You’ll share living spaces with other students, but you won’t be subject to the general upkeep that comes with renting an apartment.

Furnished apartments

As the name implies, these housing options come fully furnished and are move-in ready. You can choose to stay here for a month or longer as you shop around for a permanent place to settle during the course of your studies. Sounds interesting right? There is an abundance of great furnished apartments in the city of Chicago for students.
What amenities to look for when renting an apartment in Chicago

If you intend to rent in Chicago as a student, it’s vital to know the amenities you need in an apartment. Here’s a good place to start:

  • Wireless internet
  • Washer/dryer
  • Kitchen
  • Heat & A/C

Wintertime in Chicago is harsh, meaning you need a well-heated house for those extreme weather days. If you bring a car, a spacious parking lot is a must-have when looking for a house. Finally, consider looking for apartments with elevators if you hate taking the stairs.

What are the lease terms in Chicago?

Most apartment owners have similar lease terms. For instance, you need to pay a security deposit upfront ahead of the first month. Landlords require this deposit to counter any damages incurred in the apartment. Also, many landlords and agencies ask for a rental application fee to weed out those who are not serious.

Be sure to ask whether utility fees are part of the rent. These include water, electricity, garbage disposal, cable, and gas. In some places, you’ll need to pay directly to the utility provider.

A guarantor is also a requirement by most landlords today, in the event you can no longer meet your rental obligations or have a low credit score.


Finding a place to rent in Chicago as a student doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is to decide on the most appropriate neighborhood for you, your best accommodation type, and your must-have amenities. Once you’ve found a good match, be sure to read through the lease terms and sign on those dotted lines only when you’re sure of everything.
Good luck in your apartment search!


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