Chicago summer rentals – no Irish need apply

by Joe Zekas on 4/10/13

We recently received the following inquiry concerning summer housing:

Hi my name is [redacted] and I am a twenty two year old student from Dublin Ireland. I was luckily enough to get the opportunity to work in Chicago last Summer and as a result have decided to return with a few of my college friends this Summer to work again. Myself and four friends shall be arriving in Chicago on the 28th of May and will be in the market for some form of accommodation in or near the Lakeview area till the 1st of September.

The reason I am emailing you is because I am finding it extremely difficult to find any websites or rental agencies that cater to our needs (a 3 month Summer Rental) and your company came highly recommended. I am not expecting you to find us any accommodation I was merely hoping for some general information or advice on how to go about securing some form of accommodation. Any information you deem useful would be extremely appreciated.

The first question that comes to mind is “why not rent where you rented last summer?” The short answer, if you ask Chicago landlords who’ve experienced the “Irish invasion,” is: “No pads for Paddy, ever again.” New City relates the following rental story from Armitage Hardware’s Dan O’Donnell:

“Most of them are pretty good, but a few aren’t. I only had one last year: 950 Fletcher…” his voice trails off and his head falls into his hands. “My God, it was a nightmare.”

The address in question was actually two buildings scheduled to be gutted in September. Within two weeks, forty-five players from two opposing Irish football teams—one from Donegal and the other from Kerry—were living there. “These kids are arch rivals on the football field, and you get them drunk, and it creates monster problems,” recalls O’Donnell. Wild parties with hundreds of Irish lasted all night, beer cans littered up and down the street—and all of it taking place next to the brand new million-dollar houses on Fletcher.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

IrishPirate April 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Joe,

we’ve discussed the annual invasion of the drunken pasty hordes here before.

My guess is that the students are having a problem finding rentals because the “bedbugs” ,as you put it, dominate the Craigslist ads. These kids would have better luck finding individual landlords to rent to them.

Also it’s a bit early for them to be looking for June rentals.

Landlords would be more likely to rent to the drunken swarm around the end of May if they were looking at losing a month or more rent on a vacant unit.

The best comparison I can make to this flock of inebriated Irish “yout” coming to Chicago is a three month long Spring Break where the drinking, fighting, and fornicating are temporarily interrupted by bouts of sleep and work.

I imagine landlords would rather get a twelve month lease than take their chances on three months with glorified spring breakers. However, the spectre of lost rent might induce the landlords to take a chance.

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mahlerbone April 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Right, I don’t think the big problem they will run into has anything to do with them being Irish, partiers, young, loud, white, purple, or anything else. Or the ads being posted by bedbugs, realtors, private owners, or otherwise.

The biggest problem is definitely a 3 month lease. For most landlords, why would they want to take a 3 month lease when, assuming they own a good building/unit, they can easily get a 12+ month lease? After 3 months, the owner has to clean/repair/paint the unit again before renting it out, not to mention having to re-rent always risks a chance of vacancy. Also, in many areas you can command more for rent when leasing May/June, versus September/October (when a 3 month summer lease would be up).

Certainly there are some short term rentals out there, particularly downtown, but they aren’t easy to find. And generally a place offering a 12 month lease is unwilling to commute the lease term to 3 months.

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Joe Zekas April 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM

IP,

The landlords I’ve talked to who have experience with Irish students would rather lose 3 months’ rent than rent to them.

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Fred April 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Many condo buildings have minimum lease lengths, so there’s another pool of rentals they don’t have access to.

I can’t figure out the point of this post. Are you trying to help this person out by using this site to fish for someone who might be willing to rent to them? I’m guessing you just made it more difficult for them to find a rental as someone who may have previously rented to them now has read this article and won’t. Did you post this to “protect” landlords?

Nothing like spreading a racist stereotype…

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Joe Zekas April 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

The Irish are a race?

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Fred April 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

“Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, or social affiliation.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification)

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IrishPirate April 11, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Interestingly on my maternal granddad’s immigration papers to our fine nation his nationality is listed as “British” and his “race” is listed as “Irish”. This was just after World War Uno.

It’s not a stereotype to suggest that these kids do a whole lot of drinking and carousing during their months in America. It’s a fact. The “spring break” analogy I used in an earlier comment is unfortunately spot on.

I’d be reluctant to rent to any group of similarly aged people in that type of short term “spring break” situation as the problems with drinking are almost a given with kids that age.

I recall a story out of California a few years back where a group of Irish students in this program literally trashed a house or condo. Holes in walls, doors missing etc etc.

Ultimately the story went international and hit the Irish papers and the kids or their parents were shamed into paying for the damages. I forget the specifics, but it was a horror story for the property owners.

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Joe Zekas April 11, 2013 at 6:42 PM

“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

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SheridanB April 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Two words: sub let. Or the like.

One would have hoped to have made contacts, though, if they spent the summer here.

Is the rental market really getting that tight these days? A friend of mine is having a hard time finding a place in the Boston area – it’s like NY there.

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001isj July 11, 2013 at 4:21 PM

This irish wave is ridiculous. I had never encountered problems with the irish before, and so I had never thought anything bad about them, until this summer. My girlfriend got a new apartment in Berkeley but still had a few months left on the lease of her old apartment, so she needed subletters. She ended up getting three Irish guys and made a deal to continue paying one quarter of the rent since they had had four people living there before.

The scumbags ended up bringing five more people into the apartment, making those people pay them more than the rent was for the whole place, destroyed the light sockets and blinds, put holes in the walls and doors, destroyed my girlfriend’s furniture she let them borrow, threw stuff out the window onto cars below, comitted hate crimes against the black couple down the hall, and made the entire hall afraid to leave their rooms at night.

They were even stupid enough to brag that they had big plans for when they leave at the end of the month. We ended up changing the locks while they were out and had the police come to make sure they got their stuff peacefully. They ended up moving in with another group of irish living on the floor below them that according to the management had done all the same plus scraped paint off the walls, broken the granite countertops, destroyed the floors and doors, and covered the place in puke.

They are having the police escort them out of the building at the end of the month to avoid whatever “big plans” they have.

Basically, these irish punks have no respect for anything. The sad thing is, these irish are the ones everyone remembers, so they basically ruin it for the small number of irish kids that come here to actually work and go to school for the summer, because I know I will never let anyone I know deal with irish renters or subletters ever again.

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