Each and every one of domu’s “10 must-dos for renters” is a reasonably sensible bit of advice, and the list is supplemented by the caution that “there’s much more to inspect and consider.”
I’d suggest you inspect your store of common sense, and consider that you’ll quickly be perceived as the tenant from hell if you follow domu’s advice to the letter without regard to the situation. You may even come to think of yourself that way.
A curious and glaring omission from domu’s list and its tenant guide (pdf), is a focus on building and apartment security, although the topic is mentioned parenthetically.
Chapter 13-164 of the Chicago Municipal Code spells out the minimum requirements for security devices in residential buildings. This section of the Code was adopted 25 years ago and, in my experience, many apartments in the city are still not in compliance.
domu’s tenant guide suggests that renters “ask the landlord to estimate the monthly expenses” for utilities not included in the rent. If the renter is paying for heat, Chicago’s “heating cost disclosure ordinance” has more specific requirements.
The Chicago Municipal Code, Chapter 5-16, requires a landlord to provide, before accepting any money for a written or oral lease, the ”projected average monthly cost of utility service from the utility providing the primary source of heat based on energy consumption during the most recent annual period of continuous occupancy by one or more prior occupants, current or expected rates and normalized weather by the method approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission.” The disclosure must be incorporated in any written lease.