Freqently Asked Questions

Please select from the options at the top or scroll to the desired information below.

Looking For An Apartment:

How can I see an apartment?

What should I look for when viewing an apartment?

Applying:

How do I apply for an apartment?

What happens after I am approved for the apartment?

Required qualification for an application to be approved

Limits to apartment

Moving-In:

What should I set up or arrange before moving in?

Move-In details

What should I document upon Move-In?

Setting up utilities

Paying Rent:

How do I pay my rent?

When is rent due?

Who do I make my rent check payable to?

Do I receive an invoice each month to pay my rent?

How does management know who paid rent?

How do I use the online tenant portal?

Maintenance and Who Takes Care Of Different Things:

How do I reach Maintenance for emergencies (for emergencies only)?

How does maintenance work?

I have a maintenance problem, what do I do?

What do I need to do to maintain the inside of the apartment?

What is my responsibility to management?

What is management's responsibility to me?

Who changes my light bulbs?

Who changes the furnace filter and how is it done?

Who mows the lawn and when is it done?

Who shovels/salts and when is it done?

Who cleans the halls, takes care of public area light bulbs/detectors?

Who changes my smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries?

Where do I place my garbage?

Policies:

What is the Pet Policy?

Are satellite dishes allowed?

Smoking in apartments

Smoking in public areas (halls, porches, decks, etc)

I need a replacement key / extra keys

What basic precautions should I take for security?

Where can I store my bike?

Is there extra storage available?

I was robbed /broken into

Security concerns about neighborhood

I'm locked out of my apartment

Why are inspections performed?

Renewing:

What are the terms for renewal?

When do I need to let management know if I'm renewing or not?

Moving-Out:

I'm not renewing, what happens next?

When do I need to be completely out of the apartment?

What do I need to do to move out?

Move-Out checklist

What do I need to do to receive all of my security deposit back?

I've applied for a new apartment or mortgage and I need a landlord reference.

I am relocating, what are my Lease options?

Maintenance And/Or Basic Trouble Shooting

How does maintenance work?

I have a maintenance problem, what do I do?

What do I need to do to maintain the inside of the apartment?

Who changes my light bulbs?

Who changes the furnace filter and how is it done?

Who mows the lawn and when is it done?

Who shovels/salts and when is it done?

Who cleans the halls, takes care of public area  light bulbs/detectors?

Who changes my smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries?

 

Maintenance Issues Previously Encountered:

The smoke / carbon monoxide detector is going off

My electric is not working

I have no heat

I have no hot water or not hot enough for me

My ceiling is leaking

I have no water at all

My AC is not working

Toilet not flushing

Drains backing-up

Door knob feels loose

Gaps around doors / weather stripping

My window is drafty

I believe there's a gas smell

Tile around bath tub discolored

Caulk around bath tub discolored

Water on floor of bathroom

Blinds

Exterminating

Appliances

Mold/Mildew

Furnace / AC very noisy

Tiles coming off wall/floor

Pipe under kitchen sink leaking

How does my fireplace work?

Shower knob / handle just spins

When I cook, detectors beep

Water from faucet not clear color

Toilet leaking

Water takes a while to get warm

Locks are difficult

Intercom not working

I was robbed /broken into

Turned heat on and there is a burning smell

Garbage disposal broken

Graffiti

Thermostat displays low battery message

 

How can I see an apartment?

 Apartment viewings can be set up via email or by phone. You may also fill out a guest card on our website. We will contact you in response to your guest card to schedule a viewing. The best way to arrange a viewing of one or several available apartments is by phone, as our staff is available to answer the call and schedule your appointment at a time that works best for you.

During Chicago’s peak rental season, April-August, Seminary Properties is available to show units seven days a week. On weekdays, viewings are available from 10am-8pm, and on weekends from 11am-4pm. Outside of the peak rental season, viewings are scheduled by appointments only.

-back to top-

What should I look for when viewing an apartment?

 

When viewing an apartment, it is important to know what features are most important to you.  Focus on those features that matter most (bedroom size, location, transportation, laundry, etc).  During an apartment search, most people find that the process develops into give-and-take.  Certain features become more important and people are willing to do without other features to keep the most important features.

 

It is recommended that each individual prepare a check list of items most important to them to help guide their apartment search.

 

-back to top-

How do I apply for an apartment?

To apply for an apartment through Seminary Properties, each individual that will be occupying the unit, 18 years and older or all people applying if not living with a guardian/parent, must submit two items. The first is a fully completed Seminary Properties application. The second is a payment of a check or online payment of payable to Seminary Properties, totaling $185.00 per person. This amount covers each person’s credit check of $35.00 and a $150.00 down payment towards the apartment of choice (if available). After an individual/group applies and provides the $185.00 (per applicant) application fee, the apartment is removed from the available market; because of this, the application fee is non-refundable should the party choose to cancel their application. Once a party is approved, the $150.00 down payment each person already paid will be applied toward the $300.00 per person one-time non-refundable Administration Fee (for people 18 years and older, or all people when not living with guardian/parents) and Pet Fee.

While Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd., works with applicants in order to grant approval, there are some situations in which an application is declined. If an application is declined, the $150.00 down payment per person will be refunded. The $35.00 credit check per person is not refundable as it is applied to the credit check and part of the application process. The refunded down payment shall be in the form of a check issued after the original payment has cleared Seminary Properties account.

Parties can complete an application on our website or print out an application, located on the useful forms link. In addition, our staff would also be happy to fax or e-mail the form, and the form can also be picked up at our office. The application fee can be paid via check, cashier’s check, money order or online. Forms can be submitted by e-mail, online, fax or at our office in person during work hours or via the 24-hour drop box after hours.

-back to top-

What happens after I am approved for the apartment?

Once a person/group is approved for an apartment, the lease can be signed via an online tenant portal, each applicants and cosigner will receive a link to their portal. Once all documents are fully signed, applicants and cosigners can pay all remaining fees. $150.00 of the application fee per person, 18+ or all people living without parents/guardians, will be applied toward this total. Any difference will need to be paid at the time of the Lease signing.

After the final payment clears, Seminary Properties will execute the contract and mail a copy to one party on the Lease. All parties to the lease can view their lease at any time via their tenant portal.

All parties to the Lease are entitled to view their future residence as many times as they wish after the Lease is signed to perform measurements or take another look. All viewings will need to be arranged through the office.

If you have rented your Seminary Properties apartment through a third party rental agency (i.e. Apartment People or Spaces Property Groups), all viewings shall be conducted through the rental agency used.

-back to top-

Required qualification for an application to be approved

Once an application is received from each applicant (18+ or all applicants if not living with parent/guardian), cosigner (if necessary) and the $185.00 application fee has been paid per person the apartment is off the market. At that time Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd (SP&M) will process each application to verify three items meet the required qualifications; income to rent ratio, clean credit report and positive landlord reference.

The income to rent ratio is calculated by combining the pre-tax income of all applicants and cosigner (if applicable) and dividing the rent by that amount. SP&M will only accept applications with a ratio of 33% or lower for applications that do not have cosigner. If cosigners are involved in the application the highest ratio that would be accepted is 20%. The reason the amount changes when cosigners are involved is because SP&M wants to make sure that the cosigners can afford their own expenses and the rent of the contract if necessary. Of course, all stated income would need to be verified.

If an application requires a cosigner and the cosigner resides outside the state of Illinois, the security deposit on the lease would be doubled automatically. The reason being that it is more difficult to go after an out of state cosigner(s). This is true if even one applicant has an out of state cosigner and the applicant’s potential roommates have in-state cosigners.

If applicants attempt to qualify for an apartment based solely on checking and saving account balances, the calculations are different. In this case, the total of all accounts would be summed up. SP&M would want to make sure that at least 10% or less, of this total is enough to cover the total annual rent of the apartment. SP&M does not know if a person has large expenses coming due (court cost, loans, tuition, Etc.) and wants to feel confident that the rent would be affordable even if a large expense came due. The balance of each account would need to be verified.

The credit report of each applicant and cosigner (if applicable) would be pulled and verified that it is clean. SP&M does not want to see collections, defaults or judgments; especially of recent date. If only one item exists it may be overlooked if the individual and their co-applicants/cosigner have flawless credit reports.

SP&M does pull a criminal report as well to check for sex offenders and other criminal past that would create problems with other tenants, police, SP&M maintenance team’s or SP&M management.

SP&M will also contact the most recent landlord of each applicant and possible their past landlord, if they have a landlord. SP&M wants to verify that rental payments were on time monthly, the account of the applicant was in good standing, the applicants did not violate the lease, the applicant did not cause problem with neighbors and that the landlord would rent to the individual again if the applicants so desired to stay with that landlord.

These are the requirements that all applications for an apartment are held to. If an application does not meet these criteria the application will not be approved for the apartment.

Finally, all leases will be represented by a one-time non-refundable Administration Fee and a regular Pet Fee (if applicable). No dogs are permitted in any apartments managed by SP&M.

-back to top-

Limits to apartment

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd does have limitation on what is allowed for all apartment applications. This limit is in accordance with City of Chicago code.

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd does not allow dogs in any apartment at any time. This policy stands firm for all apartments managed by the company. This policy is enforced throughout the lease, as dogs are not allowed in properties managed by Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd ever of any period of time.

Seminary Properties and Management occupancy, counts all persons 18 years of age and older. If person under the age of 18 are applying, they will be counted as occupants and adults if they will not be living with their parents/guardian. The occupancy policy for the each size apartment is:

One to two people for a studio or one bedroom apartment
Two people for a two bedroom apartment
Three people for a three bedroom apartment
Four people for a four bedroom apartment

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd; does can limit total number of peoples who can occupy an apartment. This is based on the ratio provided by the City of Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.

-back to top-

What should I set up or arrange before moving in?

 

It is very important that, prior to moving into a new residence, Lessees set up their new gas and electric accounts and renter’s insurance. Failure to do so may result in the gas or electricity to the unit being shut off upon move-in.  

 

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. will provide new resident’s names and phone numbers to our representative with RCN to offer assistance to new residents for the purpose of creating an account and installing cable, phone and internet packages/services upon move-in.

 

It is also a great idea to have mail forwarded to your new address. Forwarding mail is done through the United States Postal Service and takes 10-14 days to take affect after the paperwork is submitted.

 

If Lessees are planning to hire movers, it is important to make those arrangements as early as possible. Movers are very busy on the 1st of the month and try to set up many jobs on that day. Please remember all leases start on the 1st of the month, and keys are only available to a party when the agency rented through opens on the 1st, no exceptions are granted.


How do I use the online tenant portal?

 

-back to top-

Move-In details

If a Lessee prepares a list of items at move-in, never discard the list. It is recommended the list is saved for reference during move-out.

The keys are available on the first day of the Lease. If you rented through Seminary Properties, please confirm with the office when you will be picking up your keys. If you have rented through a third party rental agency (i.e. Apartment People or Spaces Property Group), they keys will be available when their office opens on the first day of the Lease. No keys will be authorized for release prior to the first day of the Lease. If you would like to move-in early, please contact Seminary Properties. Seminary Properties is unable to authorize early move-in until the office can confirm that the previous residents are completely out and possession returned. If the previous resident states verbally that they will be moved out early, Seminary Properties is unable to act until it can confirm that they are in fact out and keys returned. Seminary Properties often will advise to plan to move in on the 1st as a result of being unable to verify the early move-out of the previous resident.


-back to top-

What should I document upon move-in?

Upon moving into a new apartment all parties to the lease should walk around the apartment and examine any defects, damages or problems. Anything that appears to be a problem should be written down and photos should be used for documentations. Some of the items may be damages that are inherited from resident to resident, such as a scratch in the floor, marks on wood trim or dents in cabinets.

Once a full list is compiled, residents should provide the list through their online tenant portal to Seminary Properties. Seminary Properties will inform the residents of what can and will be investigated and what items is part of the apartment. Once items are investigated an update will be provided to the resident.

Residents should keep their list and documentations with them until after they receive their security deposit back at the end of their lease, to ensure they are not charged for pre-existing damages.


-back to top-

Setting up utilities

Unless informed to the contrary, all apartments managed by Seminary Properties have individual gas and electric.  Therefore, all residents are responsible for setting up and maintaining gas and electric accounts in their names.  Utility companies may have their own system for labeling apartments and units may not be labeled the same as Seminary Properties or the United States Postal Service (i.e. apartments labeled by Seminary Properties as First Floor Front, or 1FF in our system, may be labeled simply as 1F; Second Floor, or 2F in our system, may be labeled as apartment 2 with the utility companies):

 

Peoples Energy: 866-556-6001

ComEd: 1-800-334-7661 (800-Edison-1)

 

In addition, it is important to set up any other utilities that may be necessary for each resident prior to moving in.  Some companies available in Chicago are:

 

Phone

RCN: 1-312-804-1837 (ask for Jerome, he is the Seminary Properties contact)

Comcast: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

Vonage: 1-800-486-6037

AT&T: 1-8000-CALL-ATT (1-800-225-5288)

 

Cable

RCN: 1-312-804-1837 (ask for Jerome, he is the Seminary Properties contact)

Comcast: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

*Seminary Properties does not allow dish-based service

 

Internet

RCN: 1-312-804-1837 (ask for Jerome he is the Seminary Properties contact)

Comcast: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)

 

-back to top-

How do I reach Maintenance for emergencies (for emergencies only)?

If there is a need to reach Seminary Properties and Management after business hours (9am – 5pm Monday through Friday) for emergency maintenance, please use the emergency contact number. This number is only for true emergencies, for example, being locked out of an apartment, having no heat, frozen water lines, break-ins, flooding or other emergencies that need immediate attention. If a resident experience one of these unfortunately events outside of business hours, call the Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd emergency line at 773-977-8072.

-back to top-

How does maintenance work?

At any time during a lessee’s tenancy with Seminary Properties, if anything stops working, does not work optimally, or just needs to be inspected in case something may be wrong, it is important to report the problem to the Seminary Properties. Once a concern is reported, it will be forwarded to our maintenance team. Maintenance requests can be submitted online, e-mail or by phone through our office.

Seminary Properties employs a full-time maintenance team, available Monday through Friday; the maintenance team tries to address all concerns in a timely manner, but works on a priority basis (i.e. a frozen pipe or broken furnace is a higher priority than a leaky faucet). Each day, the maintenance team receives all maintenance requests from the office that were received during the evening and previous day. Due to the priority basis, no specific time can be scheduled for the repair to take place, and no estimation for when a specific request will be addressed can be provided; it is impossible to know what items will take five minutes or five hours. If high priority items come in during the work day, the maintenance team will be promptly notified for immediate attention. Seminary Properties does aim to address all concerns within 1-3 business days.

A Lessee reporting a maintenance concern to Seminary Properties is granting permission for Seminary Properties representatives to enter their apartment, in order to investigate and repair the concern without addition notice. Residents do not have to be home and do not have to wait for the maintenance team to arrive. Maintenance or management may enter neighboring apartments in order to resolve an issue. If the issue is deemed to be an emergency, maintenance or management may not be able to provide advanced notice but will advise residents within 24 hours of entering a neighboring apartment as required by law.

Maintenance requests should be submitted online, by e-mail, or by phone to the management office.

-back to top-

I have a maintenance problem, what do I do?

If a Lessee has a maintenance problem at anytime during their residency, it is important to report the problem to Seminary Properties. It is important when submitting a maintenance request online, by e-mail, through the office, or by leaving a message, to leave a name, address, unit number, and detailed description of the concern/problem being experienced. Make sure that the description includes when the problem is occurring, how often is it happening, how long the problem has been taking place, what actions lead up to an occurrence, and anything else that may help maintenance identify and/or resolve the problem.

Management will forward all maintenance concerns and request to the maintenance team as quickly as possible. The maintenance team acts on them in a priority order. Items pertaining to heat malfunctions, safety and plumbing take priority and are treated first. Seminary Properties aims to have all items completed within 1-3 business days, however the Seminary Properties maintenance team works primarily from Monday through Friday. On Friday, they do operate with a smaller staff. It is important to call as soon as a problem is discovered. The earlier in the day a problem is reported, the sooner action can take place.

On a regular basis, the maintenance team provides the office with updates on each work order they received. The office then calls or e-mails updates to each apartment that has put in a maintenance request on what steps were needed to solve the problem. The status of the maintenance request can also be viewed via the online tenant portal.

If the problem is an emergency, meaning that without immediate attention the unit is unsafe to inhabit, or a Lessee is locked out of the unit after regular business hours, Seminary Properties does have a 24-hour emergency number (773-977-8072). This emergency line is for true emergencies only, including: no heat, break-ins, lock-outs, frozen or broken water lines and/or fires. Please respect the emergency line, as well as management; if the service is abused, abusers number may be blocked from the line. Seminary Properties will respond immediately only to true emergencies and only to residents who are on the Lease.

Apartments are rented “as is” unless there are specific written agreements to make modification between Seminary Properties and the Lessee. While Seminary Properties strives to serve our clients and maintain their apartments, this is limited to maintaining the current condition of the apartments and not rehabbing an occupied residence. Apartments will not be modified from the condition in which they were rented without a written agreement between parties.

The maintenance team is only permitted to address issues/requests that have been called/e-mailed to the management office.

-back to top-

What do I need to do to maintain the inside of the apartment?

 

All parties to the Lease have signed the Additional Covenants and Agreements (the Lease Rider).  This document contains several items that refer to responsibilities of the resident.  It is very important to keep this document handy to be prepared for and perform these responsibilities.  These responsibilities include:

 

1.      Change your furnace filter every month (failure to do so may result in the furnace breaking down and result in no heat during the winter, or AC during the summer, for several days.  Residents would be responsible for cost of these repairs as the damage was caused by failure to maintain the filter).

 

2.      Residents are responsible for maintaining their own lights (if a light goes out inside the apartment, it is the tenant’s responsibility to change the bulb).

 

3.   Residents are required to change batteries on all detectors and make sure they are functional (smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors are inspected prior to move-in).

 

4.      Keep the apartment in a clean state and remove trash to the proper garbage bins/cans regularly (mess and garbage can attract rodents and bugs to the apartment and/or building).

 

5.      Keep all utility accounts active (this includes both gas and electric).

 

6.      Make sure never to turn off heat in winter for any period of time (it is okay to lower the temperature, but never turn the heat off; if unit pipes freeze and/or break, and the heat was found to be turned off, the tenants will be responsible for the cost of repair since the damage was due to failure to properly maintain the unit).

 

7.   Respect the apartment’s plumbing.

  • Never flush anything down a toilet besides human waste and toilet tissue (if plumbing gets backed due to flushing of improper products, including feminine hygiene products, Q-tips, condoms, razors, etc. tenants will be responsible for the cost of repair.  Only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed).

  • Acquire and keep available a good plunger (many plungers being sold are not practical.  Please make sure any plunger acquired has a thick rubber bottom with a lower lip that protrudes down.  Also make sure the handle is solid and well attached to the rubber).

  • Do not force anything down the drains (most units managed by Seminary Properties do not have garbage disposals in the kitchen sinks; no food or any other items should be disposed of in the drains).

-back to top-

How do I pay my rent?

The only way to pay rent to Seminary Properties without incurring additional cost, is by making an ACH payment via a tenant’s tenant portal. The tenant portal, will offer the ability to pay by credit card, but there is a sizable fee for this option. There are also options to set up regularly scheduled payments online.

Rent may also be paid by money order, with no fee by Seminary Properties. For this option, please contact Seminary Properties for a bar code that can be used to automatically pay rent via and electronic money order at most 7-11 locations.

Rent can be paid by check, physical money order or cashier’s check. To pay by check, physical money order or cashier’s check a Lessee can mail it only to the Seminary Properties mailing address listed on the Lease, all letterhead and on the Contact links of the Seminary Properties website. Checks can also be dropped off at the Seminary Properties office, via the 24-hour drop box. To make a rental payment by physical check, money order or cashier’s check; a $10 processing fee will be charged to a tenants account per physical payment.

Mailing address:

Seminary Properties

P.O. Box 1041

Evanston, IL 60204

Seminary Properties does not require each unit to send only one check for the entire unit. Each individual tenant can send in his or her own check.

REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR ADDRESS AND UNIT NUMBER ON THE TOP LEFT OR IN THE MEMO SECTION OF ALL CHECKS. SEMINARY PROPERTIES MAY HAVE MULTIPLE TENANTS WITH THE SAME NAME.

-back to top-

When is rent due?

 

All rent is due on the 1st of the month, per the lease. 

 

However, Seminary Properties will not charge a late fee for any rent received by the 5th of each month.  Although the rent is late, no late fee will be applied if received by the 5th of the month.  The grace period to the 5th of the month accounts for when the 1st happens to fall on a weekend or holiday and/or delays in the United States Postal Service.  If an envelope is received after the 5th but is post-marked by the United States Postal Service on the 1st of the month or before, the late fee will automatically be waived.  If there is no post-mark the late fee will not be waived.  If the post-mark is from the 2nd of the month or later, the late fee will not be waived as the rent sent after the due date. 

 

-back to top-

Who do I make my rent check payable to?

 

All checks must be made payable to the entity on the apartment Lease.

-back to top-

Do I receive an invoice each month to pay my rent?

Seminary Properties does not provide invoices for rent each month. Each Lessee is responsible for remembering and submitting their rent properly. The closest thing to an invoice is by accessing each tenant’s online portal to check their apartments account.

Seminary Properties will send account statements to all parties that have not paid their rent or have an outstanding balance each month after the 5th of each month.

-back to top-

How does management know who paid rent?

Seminary Properties records all rents that are received through a hand-written log and then entered into a computer system. This way, two different logs keep track of all rents received. If a check does not have the apartment address and unit number, management may have difficulty properly crediting the correct account. If payments are made through the online options, payments are automatically entered into the individuals account.

For each rental, all parties to the Lease are held to the contract as one. This same method is used in regards to collecting rent. All rents received are recorded by each individual person who pays that rent. Seminary Properties is able to tell which resident on the Lease has or has not paid rent at any point in time; however, the apartment account is kept as a whole. If one resident is late to pay their rent, then the entire apartment receives a late fee that will be reported to future management or mortgage companies.

It is very important to remember that all parties who sign the Lease are held as one entity in regards to all aspect of the Lease. If one roommate does something to violate the Lease, all parties on the Lease will be held responsible for that violation.

-back to top-

How do I use the online tenant portal?

When a new residents sign their lease they will receive an email from Seminary Properties and Management Ltd, to create a login to their tenant portal.

The tenant portal will allow each individual tenant to access their account online, pay rent, view their lease document and submit maintenance requests. It allows tenants more access to real-real time account standings; including balances, payments and charges. It will also allow tenants to submit maintenance requests and monitor its status through completion.

Access to the tenant portal is free of charge.

-back to top-

Residents of Seminary Properties have several responsibilities to management that must be performed to ensure a smooth and enjoyable living experience.

  1. Read and know the Lease and all documents and letters sent by Seminary Properties (call Seminary Properties with any questions).

  2. Pay rent on time each month (rent is due on the 1st.  Don’t forget to put a name, address, and unit number somewhere on each check).

  3.  Call Seminary Properties regarding any maintenance problem or concern immediately (leave a name, address, unit number and detail description of the problem with office).

  4. Be respectful of all Seminary Properties employees (Seminary Properties is trying to serve our residents to best of our ability and appreciate kindness).

  5. Be courteous to neighbors (make sure that noise levels are respectful to neighbors who may not have the same schedule).

  6. Remove trash regularly (no one likes rodents.  Help management and neighbors by removing trash to the garbage cans/bins located at the back of most buildings).

  7. If a resident has any problems, call management immediately (we can’t help if we don’t know a problem exists).

  8. Remember an emergency is just that: an emergency (if problem needs attention immediately to ensure the unit is habitable, then it is an emergency; if the problem is something that can wait until the next day, then it is not an emergency).

  9. Remember Seminary Properties has other residents as well; we aim to make them all happy.  To make all our residents happy, we need to prioritize the severity of problems (sometimes a problem from one resident is not as serious as a problem of another tenant; i.e.: a clogged toilet or tub is not as serious or urgent as no heat)

  10. Residents must notify Seminary Properties of any violation to the Lease or Lease Rider that is witnessed.

     

    -back to top-

What is management's responsibility to me?

 

Seminary Properties is responsible to make all residents’ dwellings safe, comfortable and enjoyable within the context of the Lease.

  1. Management is responsible for maintaining, repairing and investigating inquires/concerns of all residents.

  2. Management is responsible for providing quick and attentive service to our residents.

  3. Management is responsible for holding themselves as firmly to the Lease as we hold our tenants (it is a contract that both parties signed into agreement).

  4. Management is responsible for answering all questions brought to their attention to the best of their abilities.

  5. Management is responsible for cleaning the public areas of the building regularly.

  6.  Management is responsible for removing snow and salting walkways within 24 hours after snowfall of at least one inch.

  7.  Management is responsible for mowing lawns regularly.

  8. Management is responsible for replacing light bulbs and batteries in public areas of the building in a timely manner.

  9. Management is responsible for keeping careful records of all funds received from each resident.

     

    -back to top-

Who changes my light bulbs?

Residents of Seminary Properties are responsible for changing their own apartment’s light bulbs. All bulbs in a unit are inspected and/or replaced if found not to be working prior to move-in. After move-in, light bulbs become the resident’s responsibility.

If a resident is unable or unwilling to change their own bulbs, Seminary Properties does provide a service for replacing light bulbs, at an additional fee. Once the Seminary Properties office is notified of a resident’s desire to have maintenance change their bulbs and the resident okays the accompanying charge, representatives will come to replace the bulbs. Per the Lease Rider, this service costs $3.00 per bulb for a regular incandescent bulb and $6.00 per bulb (or more, depending on the cost of the bulb) for all other bulbs. This charge is applied whether the resident provides bulbs or not.

When a resident moves out, any bulbs not working in the apartment upon inspection will result in the exiting tenant being charged $3.00 for each incandescent bulb and $6.00 for each other type of bulb, per the Lease Rider signed by all parties.

-back to top-

Who changes the furnace filter and how is it done?

Seminary Properties inspects and replaces each unit’s furnace filter prior to move-in.  Once residents move into the unit, it is their responsibility to change their furnace filter once a month. 

Seminary Properties does inspect each unit’s furnace at least once a year and will replace any furnace filter that is in poor condition.  If Seminary Properties replaces a furnace filter, that unit will be charged $10.00 per the Lease Rider that all parties signed.

If, during a resident’s tenancy, they wish for Seminary Properties to replace their filter for them, they must contact Seminary Properties and agree to the $10 furnace filter replacement charge.  This service charge is applied regardless of whether a resident provides the furnace filter or not.

If an apartment has a thermostat, the system has a furnace filter.  The furnace filter is a cardboard frame with a cotton or fiber threading center that catch dust and air particles.  The dimensions are written on the furnace filters, themselves.  All hardware stores and many other stores carry furnace filters and they are usually very inexpensive.  The furnace filter is located in one of several locations:

  1. Look to the side at the bottom of the furnace.  Normally, a duct is going out to one side of the furnace and between the duct and the furnace is a long narrow space that has a cardboard end in it.  The cardboard end is the side of the filter. The filter slides in and out of the opening.  Slide the old filter out and replace it with the new filter. 
  2. Looking at the furnace, pull off the top front panel of the furnace: it slides up and will come off.  Then slide the bottom panel of the furnace front off; it will also just slide up and off.  When looking into the bottom of the furnace, either lying on the bottom or to one side of the bottom section will be the cardboard-framed filter.  Take it out and replace it with a newly purchased filter where the old one was located.   The furnace will not run while these doors are removed, and will not start up until both front panels are put back on fully; please remember to push the panels back into place completely.
  3. If the furnace filter is not located in either location #1 or #2, look at your furnace.  Some furnaces have a metal flap in the middle of the top and bottom section.  Lift up this flap and the filter is located in this space.  Pull out the old filter and slide in the new filter. 
  4. If the three previous areas have been checked and no filter has been found, there is one other place it will be.  Look around the apartment, near the furnace closet for a large vent with clasps or screws around it; the clasps look like metal switches.  Unhook these switches and the vent will swing out.  The filter will be inside this vent.  Take out the old filter and replace with the new filter.

If, when a resident moves out, the furnace filter is in poor condition, the exiting resident will also be charged $10.00 per the Lease Rider that all parties signed.

-back to top-

 

Who mows the lawn and when is it done?

Seminary Properties mows the lawns at every building on a regular basis.  If, at any time, a resident feels the lawn has not been mowed during that time frame, they should contact Seminary Properties to report the problem.

 

-back to top-

Who shovels/salts after snowfall and when is it done?

Seminary Properties is responsible for shoveling and salting all building walkways and stairs whenever snowfall is greater than one inch.  If less than one inch of snow falls, Seminary Properties does not shovel or salt.  The process of shoveling and salting is time consuming; please allow 24 hours for the process to be completed.  If the snowfall is predicted to take place over several days, Seminary Properties may wait till the end of the snowfall or may perform snow removal several times during a single storm.

Seminary Properties does not shovel alleys or parking areas.

 

-back to top-

Who cleans the halls and/or takes care of public area light bulbs/detectors?

 

Seminary Properties is responsible for cleaning the public areas, keeping all public area light bulbs working and making sure all public area detectors are operating. 

 

Seminary Properties will clean all public areas of the building regularly.  Management will inspect public area light bulbs and detectors more on an unannounced schedule, but cannot visit every building every day.  If a resident notices a bulb out or a detector beeping in a building hallway or an event takes place that leaves the hallways in disarray, please call management so the problem can be corrected as quickly as possible.

 

-back to top-

Who changes my apartment’s smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries?

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are provided inside every unit. Prior to a new resident’s move-in, all detectors inside a unit are inspected to ensure that they are operating and the batteries are working. If any detector is not working, or its battery is dead, it will be replaced prior to move-in.

After a new resident moves in, maintaining working batteries in the detector(s) is the tenant’s responsibility. Detectors are designed to beep once every 20 seconds or so to alert that a battery is dying. The replacement of the battery is the resident’s responsibility. If a resident is unable or unwilling to change the battery, Seminary Properties does offer this service. Notify management of the problem and Seminary Properties will replace the battery in the detector: $5.00 for each 9-volt battery and $5.00 for each AA or AAA battery, per the Lease Rider that all parties signed.

Chicago City Code does require detectors to be placed within a set distance from the furnace and bedrooms. This proximity from bedroom doors and kitchens can sometimes make the alarm go off falsely when cooking. Seminary Properties cannot change the location of the detectors due to city code.

If a detector is missing when a resident moves out, they will be charged a $150.00 fee for each detector missing per the Lease Rider that all parties signed.

 

-back to top-

Where do I place my garbage?

 Garbage cans/bins are provided and placed in the rear of most buildings, and on the side of a few buildings.  Never leave garbage, bagged or otherwise, in your hallway, a building public area or outside of the garbage bin/can.  Such behavior will attract rodents and insect to the building and units.  Please do not place garbage in cans or bins that belong to other properties.  All trash should be placed inside the provided cans/bins.

 

-back to top-

What is the policy on pets?

Seminary Properties does approve some pets including birds and cats. Approval of any pet must be granted by management and a $150 non-refundable Pet Fee must be received per pet. If a resident has an unapproved pet and the pet is discovered, the resident will be charged a $300.00 fine each time the pet is found, until approval and the appropriate Pet Fee is provided. The Pet Fee is due with every Lease and Lease Extension.

Seminary Properties does not allow any dogs in any building, at any time. Any dog found in a Seminary Properties building, even as a guest, for any amount of time, will result in the unit receiving a $300.00 fine. This fee would apply any time the dog is found in the apartment, as is stated in the Lease Rider that all parties signed. If a resident sees another resident with a dog in the building, they should report it to Seminary Properties office immediately.

 

-back to top-

Are satellite dishes allowed?

 Seminary Properties has a firm no dish-based service policy at all buildings.  Seminary Properties does allow any cable-based service at any building.  Residents may choose from any cable service provider.

 

-back to top-

Smoking in apartments?

Smoking in apartment or in building is strictly prohibited. No Smoking of any substance may occur in a building or within 15 fee of any entrance to a building.

-back to top-

Smoking in public areas (halls, porches, decks, etc)

The law in the City of Chicago prohibits smoking in any area where public/neighbors have access or within 15 feet of an entrance/exit to a building.  Seminary Properties does enforce this law.

 

-back to top-

I need a replacement key / extra keys

Upon move-in each unit will receive one building and apartment key for each person on the Lease. In addition, the unit will receive one mail key and one specialty key if applicable. If at any time a resident loses any key, a new key can be acquired through Seminary Properties for the cost of $7.50 per standard key; specialty keys will be provided at the cost to make the key.

-back to top-

What basic precautions should I take for security?

Crimes do happen in Chicago and precautions should be taken at all times to ensure the safety for all residents.   It is vital that all residents use the security measures that are in place for all units. 

  1. Make sure all building doors are closed and gates and latched after entering and exiting the building.

  2. Use all the locks on each apartment door at all times (the dead bolt lock is the strongest lock on the door and most important to use).

  3. Make sure all windows are completely closed and latched when residents are not home (make sure the clasp and latch are lined up so the window is locked properly).

  4. Use the pull tabs on the windows (when used, these metal or plastic tabs on the top pane of the window keep the window from opening more than 1”-2” inches).

  5. Do not buzz people into the building unless residents are certain they are an expected guest (DO NOT LET STRANGERS IN, EVER).

  6. Report common/public area lights that are out to management as soon as possible.

  7. If you apartment is equipped with a localized alarm, use it.

  8. Be alert to the surroundings and activities in the neighborhood.

  9. Be prepared for the worst and have Renter’s Insurance.

-back to top-

Where can I store my bike?

Unless your unit has an additional storage locker or the building has a bike room, all bikes must be stored inside the apartment.  No bikes are to be stored on any rear porches or building fences at any time.  All residents will be made aware of additional storage prior to signing their Lease.

 

-back to top-

Is there extra storage available?

Each residence has only the storage inside its unit.  Some buildings do offer additional storage lockers for each unit and residents will be made aware of this prior to signing their Lease.  Basements, hallways and stairwells are not for storage and items will be removed if found in a public area.   

 

-back to top-

I was robbed /broken into

 

Safety is a high priority at all buildings Seminary Properties manages.  Many safety precautions are in place and can be implemented by a resident to provide a secure living environment.  Please see the section entitled “What basic precautions should I take for security?” for more tips on safety measures.  Even with precautions being taken, crime does happen in Chicago. 

 

If a residence is burglarized, the first priority is to call the police (9-1-1).  After the police have been notified, Residents should immediately begin to make a list of items taken and call to report it to the Renter’s Insurance agency the resident has chosen.  Finally, call Seminary Properties.  In most cases, the police will send a crime technician to the unit to inspect the area.  The technician will respond 1-5 hours after the initial police arrival.  Seminary Properties is not allowed to repair the damages or touch anything until after the technicians are done.

 

-back to top-

Security concerns about neighborhood

 

If a resident has a concern about the area in which they live, feel free to contact management.  Voicing such concerns to the ward alderman is another way to report problems in the area.  Residents can also take part in the area CAPS meetings to voice concerns.  CAPS is run by the City of Chicago Police Department.

 

-back to top-

What are the terms for renewal?

Seminary Properties put lease extension offers, in individual tenant portals and email residents informing of this approximately three months before the end of the Lease. The lease extension in the tenant portal will have information as to the length of the renewal being offered, any change in rentand any other changes to the Lease. A letter that accompanies the renewal form will have a date by which all renewals will need to be returned to avoid have the unit being put on the market. If a signed and initialed renewal form has not been received by management in person, online by the return date, the apartment will be marketed as available beginning on the day after the return date.

Residents do have the chance to renew after the renewal return date. As long as a new party has not applied for the apartment, the current resident can renew. Once a new party has applied for the unit, no renewal can be offered.

-back to top-

When do I need to let management know if I'm renewing or not?

If a resident is planning on renewing, they need to return the Lease Extension form back to Seminary Properties signed by all tenants on the Lease as soon as possible, via their tenant portal. A date is listed on the Lease Extension’s accompanying letter stating the deadline to have renewals returned.

If the make-up of tenants on the Lease is going to change (i.e. some roommates are moving out and new roommates are moving in), further paperwork is required; it is important to get an early start on this other paperwork to reassign the entities on the Lease prior to the Lease Extension deadline.

If tenants are not planning on renewing, they need to inform Seminary Properties by email or phone.

-back to top-

I'm not renewing, what happens next?

 

If a resident chooses not to renew the Lease, the apartment will begin to be shown 60 days prior to the end of the Lease.  All residents will be notified a minimum of two hours prior to the showing, per the Lease Rider signed by all parties.  A voicemail does qualify as proper notice for a showing as long as it was left a minimum two hours prior to the scheduled showing.  If any agent tries to show the unit with less than two hours notice, contact Seminary Properties immediately with that agent’s name and agency of employment.

 

-back to top-

Residents are expected to keep their residence in an orderly state. 

 

Residents can be home during the showings; it is their home and they are allowed to be home when the unit is being shown.  It is expected that residents keep their apartments clean at all times to prevent a nuisance or pests and this should continue while the unit is being marketed.

 

-back to top-

When do I need to be completely out of the apartment?

 

 All leases end on the last day of the last month of the lease.  Leases never end on the first of the month.  Per the Lease Rider, all residents must be completely out of the unit by noon on the last day of the last month of the Lease.  Occupying the unit for any amount of time after this time will qualify the resident as a hold-over tenant and subject those residents to twice the amount of one month’s rent, per the standard Chicago Lease. 

 

-back to top-

What do I need to do to move out?

 

If a resident is not planning to renew, several items need to be done by the resident prior to and by the time of move-out.

  1. Notify management of their intention to move-out.

  2. Notify management of the forwarding address(es) of the residents (if roommates are no longer going to be living together, management will need to know each roommate’s forwarding address)

  3. Schedule movers or assistance with moving early so residents can be completely out of their apartment by noon on the last day of the last month of the Lease. Movers get very busy the end and beginning of every month, and tend to fall off pace for the timetable they provide.  Make sure the schedule they provide allows for extra time for problems and will still allow residents to be out by noon on the last day of the Lease.

  4. Cancel or transfer all utilities: gas, electric, phone, cable, television.

  5. Make sure the apartment is cleaned and completely empty

-back to top-

Move-Out checklist

The Move-Out Checklist is a simple one page document that serves as a guide for what steps to take prior to moving-out.

-back to top-

What do I need to do to receive all of my security deposit back?

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. does not have security deposits on their leases. As the lease has no deposit, no deposit can be returned.

-back to top-

I have applied for a new apartment or mortgage and I need a landlord reference.

 

Seminary Properties is honored to provide accurate and detailed references to landlords and mortgage companies.  Please have the person or company fax a signed authorization for the release of information, along with a tenant/landlord verification form to Seminary Properties at 773-728-6910.  Seminary Properties will only provide the information once a corresponding current (or forwarding if still a resident) address for the resident in question has been provided.

 

-back to top-

I'm locked out of my apartment

If a resident is locked out of an apartment, Seminary Properties is available to let the person into their apartment. Seminary Properties will only let parties listed on the Lease into an apartment and will check for identification upon arrival. Any resident locked out of an apartment will be charged a $75.00 Lock-Out Fee, per the Lease Rider signed by all parties.

Residents should also specify whether they have accidentally left the keys inside the apartment or if they have lost their keys. If a resident is locked out and does not know where their keys are, they must mention this to the Seminary Properties representative so new keys can be delivered. For each new key required a $7.500 charge will be assessed to the account, (do not duplicate keys or Medico keys cost $25.00 per key) along with the $75.00 Lock-Out Fee.

If a resident attempts to break-in to their residence for any reason, the cost to repair the damages will be charged to their account.

-back to top-

Why are inspections performed?

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. will inspect all apartments at least twice a year. These inspections are performed to ensure that all apartments are being kept in good condition with no violations to the Lease and Lease Rider. If violations to the Lease and Lease Rider are found, they will be documented and repaired. Those cost of these repair will be passed along to the apartments account.

The charges for violations found will be:

Room painted from original color $300.00 (Or the actual cost if over $300.00)
Holes/nails in wood trim $5.00 per hole
Holes/nails in doors $5.00 per hole
Missing smoke or Carbon Monoxide detectors $150.00 per detector
Missing batteries in detectors
 • AA or AAA $2.50 per battery
 • 9V $5.00 per battery
Light Bulbs
 • Regular incandescent $3.00 per bulb
 • Indoor flood light $6.00 per bulb
 • Specialty bulb Cost of bulb plus $3.00
Furnace Filter $10.00
Ripped window screens $50.00 per screen
Broken Window $300.00 per window
Missing Sink Strainer $5.00 per strainer

Other possible charges:

If the apartment has damages (large holes in walls, missing stairwell spindles, broken face plates, broken light fixtures, holes in doors, cracked mirror, any damages beyond ware and tear) the account will be charged cost of repair plus $25.00 per repairman per hour. (Minimum two hours)

If the apartment is excessively unclean (bathrooms, appliances, kitchen, any area of the apartment) the account will be charged the cost of a cleaning service plus $100.00 for cleaning.

-back to top-

I am being relocated, what are my Lease options?

 

Seminary Properties understands that job’s and life’s circumstances can be unpredictable.  However, a Lease is a contract, which both residents and Seminary Properties must uphold.  If, for some reason, a resident needs to move, Seminary Properties offers two methods to relieve them of the contractual obligations; neither option is to terminate the Lease.  Seminary Properties does not terminate a lease before the expiration, or allow the lease contract to simply be broken.

 

The first option residents have is to sublet their apartment or their portion of the Lease.  In a true sublet, a new party is renting an apartment or a portion of a Lease from the party on the Lease.  The original tenant is still obligated to the ease; if their sub-lessee fails to honor the terms of the Lease the original tenant will be held legally responsible. 

 

In the sublease option, all residents must provide a signed and dated letter to management stating the intention to assign to one or more parties of the Lease.  Once a new party is found, they will need to submit an application and a $35.00 credit check fee.  Once their application and credit have been processed, if necessary, Seminary Properties will contact the original tenant and inform them of any risks found during this process.  It is up the original tenant to decide if this new party is worth risking any potential legal action, since any damages or Lease violations will be the responsibility of the original tenant, and not the new party.

 

The second option is a Lease Assignment, or a re-let.  A Lease Assignment is when a resident, or one or more roommates, reassign their rights to the Lease to a new, approved party.  After the assignment documents have been signed and executed, the original tenant(s) will have no further contractual rights or obligations to the Lease.

 

In the Lease Assignment option, all current residents must provide a signed and dated letter to management stating the intention to sublease one or more parties of the Lease.  Once a new party is found they will need to submit an application and a $35.00 credit check fee.  Once their application and credit have been processed, Seminary Properties will either approve or deny the new party.  If the new party is approved, Lease Assignment documents will be drawn up and must be signed by all current residents, as well as the new parties.  Once they are returned to management they will be executed, and the transfer of tenants will be complete.  As of the date the Assignment begins, the original tenant will have no further obligations or rights to the apartment or Lease.

 

In either option, no security deposit shall change hands through Seminary Properties.  Since the Lease does not terminate during either process the security deposit must remain to represent the Lease at all times.  This means that any exchange of security deposit must occur between the original tenant(s) and the new, incoming parties.

 

-back to top-

Maintenance and/or basic trouble shooting

The following are remedies to common problems that have been reported to Seminary Properties in the past.

The smoke/carbon monoxide detector is going off

 

All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have battery power; some units have detectors that are both hard-wired and use battery power as a back-up.  If a detector is sounds one beep every 20 seconds or so, it is signaling that it is time to change the battery.   Depending on what model detector is installed, the new battery may be 9V, AA or AAA batteries.  To find the battery compartment, the detector must be taken off of its mount.  On the side or bottom of the detector will be a door the houses the battery.  Make sure the batteries are new, being installed in the proper direction and placed fully inside the compartment.  If the detector is a newer, hard-wired model make sure the wires on the bottom of the detector are plugged back in completely before re-mounting the detector.

 

If a smoke or carbon monoxide detector goes off with constant beeps, or three quick beeps that repeat regularly, call 9-1-1 and leave the apartment.  Wait for the emergency response to investigate the source of the problem.  Call Seminary Properties and inform them of the occurrence and let management know what the emergency response found.

 

Detectors can go bad overtime and need to be replaced every 5 years or so.  If no alarming levels of smoke, gas or carbon monoxide are found, inform Seminary Properties so the detector can be changed.

 

Chicago City Code does require detectors to be placed within a set distance from the furnace and bedrooms  This proximity to bedroom doors near kitchens often causes the alarm go off falsely when cooking.   Seminary Properties cannot change the location of the detectors due to this city code.

 

-back to top-

My electricity is not working

 

If a resident is experiencing a problem with their electricity it is helpful to know several ways to check the severity of the problem. 

 

1. Is the power outage only affecting one appliance (stove, fridge, laundry, etc.) or single outlet (bathroom or kitchen outlet)

  • If the answer is yes, then the problem may be the outlet.  Many of the appliances and rooms mentioned have GFI outlets.  These outlets have circuit breakers built into them; a power surge may have caused this circuit to pop.  If a resident looks directly at the outlet, they will see two buttons: a “reset” and a “test” button.  Using your hands or a solid tool, press the reset button in all the way and the power will be restored.

2. Does a section of the apartment no longer have power?

  •  If half a room, a whole room or half an apartment has no electricity, then some device needed so much electricity that it created a power surge which blew a circuit.  Nearly all apartments managed by Seminary Properties uses circuit breaker boxes to protect the unit from power surges.  The circuit breaker box may be inside the unit; look for a small, gray metal door.  If this door is not found in the unit, go to the common area of the basement, all the circuit breaker boxes will be located together and labeled for individual apartments.  Look for the individual breaker that is loose or not all the way in the “on” position.  Take that switch and flip it to “off” and firmly hold it there for two seconds.  Then flip it to the “on” position and firmly hold it in that position for two seconds.  The power should be back on.  If an individual is not sure which switch is the proper switch, flip all the switches in the box labeled for the apartment that has lost power.

3. Does the entire apartment have no power?

  • If an entire apartment has no power, the problem may be with ComEd.  Tenants should make sure their electric account with ComEd is active and current, to confirm the electric service to the apartment has not been shut off. Check the hallways, street lights and neighboring buildings, if any or all have no lights, then the power is out to the building or the area.  Call ComEd at 1-800-334-7661 (800-Edison-1) and report the problem.  Seminary Properties is not legally allowed to adjust or repair anything outside the property regarding the electricity, including all power and phone lines.
     

    -back to top-

I have no heat

 

If a resident finds the heat not working in their unit, there are several things they can do to remedy the problem before calling Seminary Properties.

 

1. If the unit has a radiator, call Seminary Properties to report the problem immediately.  If it is outside normal office hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).

 

2. If the unit has central heat or controllable heat, make sure the People’s Energy gas account is active and current. Have regular bill been received and paid?  Does the stove have gas? Do the burners turn on?  If not the gas service could be shut off.  If the gas to the unit is working try the following steps:

 

a. Make sure the thermostat switches are set to the proper settings.  The fan switch should be set to “Auto”, and should never be set to “On”.  The second switch, the function switch, should be set to “Heat”.  Once the switches are on their proper settings the heat should work. If not, please try the next step.

 

b. If a resident has recently bumped into or removed the front panels from the furnace, this could be why the furnace is not working.  The front panels of the furnace hold down a pressure switch, when on properly.  If this switch is not pushed in properly, the furnace will not start.  Remove both panels and make sure they are both put back on properly.  If the furnace is still not working, please try the next step.

 

c. Is the furnace making any noise at all?  If the furnace is making no noise at all, the furnace may have no power.  Every furnace has a power switch that shuts the power off to the furnace.  This is required by the City of Chicago.  The power switch will look like a light switch and will be located on the furnace, on a wall near the furnace, or on the wall just outside the furnace closet/area.   Turn on the thermostat to request heat then turn the furnace power switch.  When the correct switch is flipped, the furnace should make noise and kick on very quickly.

 

3. If none of the above steps work to provide heat, call Seminary Properties.  If it is outside normal business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072)

 

Reminder: it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace the furnace filter monthly.  If the furnace is not working due to a clogged filter, the tenant will be responsible for the cost of repair.

 

It is also required, per the Lease, for residents to heat their units in the winter.  When the temperature gets near or below 32º F, the heat in the apartment must be on and set near a 50º F minimum at all times.

 

During extreme weather, the thermostat reading may be a few degrees off from the desired set temperature.  This is normal; 1-4 degrees deviation during extreme cold is not a malfunction. 

 

-back to top-

I have no hot water or not hot enough for me

 

All residents have access to hot water in their unit.  If for some reason a resident does not have any hot water or not enough hot water, there are steps that can be taken to remedy this problem.

 

1. Does the unit have an active gas account with People’s Energy?  If the stove’s burners are not working then the apartment does not have an active gas account and needs to call People’s Energy to set up an account immediately.

 

2. When looking at the water tank, is the dial near the bottom of the tank set to warm or hot?  If not, adjust the dial so the water heater can heat the water to the temperature desired.  As soon as the dial is moved, a noise should be heard indicating the water heater is starting up.

 

3. If no noise is heard when the dial is adjusted, look through the small window or, if applicable, remove the metal cover underneath the dial and look into the water heater.   If no small blue flame is present then the pilot light that heats the water has gone out.   

 

a. If the water heater has the window to look inside then to start the pilot light turn the gas dial to “pilot” and push it down.  Then press the red button to create sparks to start the pilot light, continuing to hold down the pilot light switch.  Once the blue flame starts up hold the pilot light switch down for one minute and then adjust it to the desired temperature.

 

b. If the water heater has metal covers that reveal an opening to start the pilot light, a person will need a long lighter, long match or long piece of paper with one end lit on fire.  Turn the gas dial to “pilot” and hold down, put the flame device inside the opening following the long pipe the feeds inside the opening.  The long pipe will lead to a point where the gas is released; hold the flame over that area until a flame exists on its own.  Keep holding the gas dial to “pilot” the entire time.  After the flame has started, continue holding the gas dial to “pilot” for one minute and then adjust it to the desired temperature.

 

4. Remember that a hot water tank needs at least an hour to fully heat the water to the desired temperature.

5. If none of these steps work to provide hot water, call Seminary Properties.  If it is outside normal business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).

 

-back to top-

My ceiling is leaking

 

If a resident’s ceiling is leaking, the first step should be to knock on the unit above to find out if their neighbors are experiencing any flooding (i.e. an overflowing toilet or dishwasher, etc.).  If no one answers or if someone answers and there is a problem with flooding, call Seminary Properties immediately.  If it is after regular business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).  Seminary Properties may not respond immediately if the leak is not severe, under control or slowing down; in this case, the problem will be attended to the next business day.

 

-back to top-

I have no water at all

 

If a unit has no water in part or the entire apartment, several things could be wrong.  If the entire apartment does not have water, the city of Chicago may be doing work on the sewer or water lines near the building and shut off the water.  In either case call Seminary Properties. If it is after regular business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).

 

If part of the apartment has no water, check the shut-off valves under the sink(s) and/or toilet to make sure they are open.  To do this, simply turn the knob counter-clockwise (“lefty loosey”); if it moves then the water valve was shut off.  Turn the water valves and the water should come back on.

 

It is also possible that pipes may have frozen due to extreme weather or improper heating.  Call Seminary Properties; if it is after regular business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).  Residents can also use hair dryers to blow over the pipes to thaw them until management can arrive.

 

If the apartment has water, but there is very little water pressure, check to make sure the faucet head is not clogged.  Unscrew the end of the faucet and/or shower head.  The water pressure should improve as soon as the head is removed.  Turn the faucet or shower head backwards and have water run through it in reverse; this can dislodge particles that can build up over time.  Reinstall the shower or faucet head.  If this does not solve the problem, please call the Seminary Properties office.  This is not an emergency and does not warrant the use of the emergency line.

 

-back to top-

My AC is not working

 

Not all apartments are equipped with central air conditioning (AC).  If a resident is unsure whether or not they have AC, please check with Seminary Properties.  If an apartment is equipped with AC and it is not working, please try these steps to troubleshoot the problem before calling Seminary Properties for repair.

 

  1. If the AC is not working at all, make sure the thermostats two switches are set properly.  The fan switch should be set to “Auto”, and should never be set to “On”.  The second switch, the function switch, should be set to “Cool”.  If the switches are on their proper settings and AC does not cool the apartment over the next hour or so, residents try the next step.

  2. If the furnace is making no noise at all, the furnace may have no power.  Every furnace has a power switch that shuts the power off to the furnace.  This is required by the City of Chicago.  The power switch will look like a light switch and will be located on the furnace, on a wall near the furnace, or on the wall just outside the furnace closet/area.   Turn on the thermostat then flip the furnace power switch.  When the correct switch is flipped, the furnace should make noise and kick on very quickly. 

  3. If the apartment does not cool over the next hour after trying the previous steps, try looking at the furnace. If ice is forming around the pipe feeding into the duct work just above the furnace, shut the power off to the furnace immediately and call the Seminary Properties office to report the problem.  If the AC is not working, it does not constitute an emergency.

  • This happens when residents do not change their furnace filter regularly.  Lines that help cool the apartment can get overworked, get clogged and can freeze.  This situation would result in repairs at the expense of the residents.

 During extreme weather, the thermostat reading may be a few degrees off from the desired set temperature.  This is normal; 1-4 degrees deviation during extreme heat is not a malfunction. 

 

-back to top-

Toilet not flushing

 

Residents should never flush tampons, condoms, paper towels, Q-tips, hair, clothing, rodents or anything else that is not human waste or toilet tissue.  Anything besides human waste or toilet tissue can and will clog toilets and plumbing lines.  If it is discovered that a pipe needs repairs due to improper use of the toilet, the resident will be responsible for the cost of the repairs.

 

If a toilet gets clogged due to regular use, it is extremely important for tenants to acquire a quality plunger.  The best plungers are larger and have thick handles and thick rubber.  The rubber is a half circle/dome that has a lower lip extending down.  If a resident reports a clogged toilet and does not own a plunger, Seminary Properties will advise them to acquire a quality plunger before sending any maintenance team to the apartment.  Clogged toilets that residents have attempted to plunge properly and are still not working, constitute an emergency if it is the only toilet in the unit; call Seminary Properties; if it is after regular business hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).

 

Reminder: to properly plunge a toilet, a person would insert the plunger and pump the plunger up and down, vigorously for 10-15 seconds.  A single plunge, lack of effort or a inferior plunger will not resolve the clog.

 

-back to top-

Drains backing up

 

Over time, all drains will back up due to collecting of hair, skin cells and soap, but steps can be taken to prevent drains from clogging.  It is extremely important to NEVER use Drain-O or other liquid pipe clearing products.  These products contain enzymes that eat the pipe walls and can eventually break through, making the problem worse.

 

If a bathtub drain is clogged, remove the drain stopper and try to extract as much hair as possible.  Residents can also use a good-quality plunger on the drain to loosen up and push the clog through the pipes.  If these suggestions do not help, call Seminary Properties to report the problem.  Acquiring a hair catcher/strainer is the best preventative measure a resident can take, however the screen or holes on the hair catcher will get filled with soap scum and other particles over time and will need to be scrubbed.

 

If a bathroom sink drain is clogged, a resident should try to plunge the drain.  This will loosen up the hair, soap and/or skin cells that are clogging the drain.  If plunging the drain does not improve the problem, call Seminary Properties to report the problem.  Remember to use a rag or paper towel to cover the overflow opening located around the rim of the sink while plunging; otherwise, the plunger cannot create the necessary pressure to clear the clog.

 

If a kitchen sink drain is clogged, a resident should try to remove as much food and other particles as possible from the drain.  Food should never be pushed deeper in the drain; the drain is intended for draining water, not food particles.  Nearly all drains are equipped with a sink strainer and should be used at all times.  If the sink does get clogged. make an attempt to plunge the drain.  If an apartment has a double sink, a second person is required to hold the second sink’s strainer down, so the plunger can create the necessary pressure in the drain to remove the clog.  The suction created by plunging in this manner should loosen the clog.  If this does not correct the back up, call Seminary Properties.

 

The only time a clogged drain warrants calling the Seminary Properties emergency line is when water  is backing up through the drains, into the sink and/or tub, rising and nearing the top of the sink or tub.  This is rare and usually only occurs when there is an extreme amount of rain, which floods the city’s pipes, causing water to back up into drains, rather than flowing through.

 

-back to top-

Doorknob feels loose

 

Over time, doorknobs on all doors can get loose.  The constant pulling on the handle can loosen the screws that hold it in place.  If a resident starts to feel a knob beginning to get loose, only a phillips screw driver is needed to tighten by turning clockwise (‘righty tighty”) on the loose screw(s).  If residents wait too long to report or tighten the screw(s) the doorknob can fall off completely, and the door may become inoperable.

 

If a building entrance doorknob falls off, it is not an emergency, but it is something that should be reported immediately.  If the office is closed, leave a message at the office or call the emergency line (773-977-8072); a representative will be out at their earliest convenience to re-install the knob.

 

-back to top-

Gaps around doors/weather stripping

 

All apartment doors have weather stripping around the frame of the door.  Even with this preventative measure, all doors will leak air.  Doors are designed to open and close, which does not allow them to be airtight.  If a resident feels more insulation is needed for the leaks, it is recommended that they place towels at the bottom of the door.  If the door in question is not used regularly then a resident can fill the gaps with more weather stripping, towel strips, tape the gap or tissue.  Please remember, however, that many doors that are not commonly used may be emergency exits; these doors should not be sealed or blocked at any time.

 

-back to top-

My window is drafty

 

During the summer months, many residents enjoy opening unit windows to get fresh air. During the winter, as the weather turns cooler, tenants may find their windows are drafty.  The majority of the time, this is due to the windows not being fully closed and latched.  Windows are not completely closed unless the latch on the lower window is perfectly aligned and latches into the clasp on the top window.  Just because both windows appear to be fully shut, they may not be.  Top windows often can drop a few millimeters, or even inches, while unlocked.  To close the window, push the top window up and the bottom window down, at the same time, until the latch and clasp line up, then lock the window.  This may take a lot of effort with older or larger windows.  It may take two people, one to push the top window up, and the second to push the bottom window down and lock the locks.  As winter nears each year, it is very important to check all the windows to ensure they are fully closed and locked; slightly ajar windows can cause a higher heating bills during the cold months.

 

If a window is still allowing drafts into the unit, and the window is completely closed and latched, purchasing a Window Insulation Kit is the best and only advice Seminary Properties can provide (please remember to remove any window insulation prior to moving out).  Please remember, however, that windows are glass which will not insulate as well as a solid wall.

 

All newer windows, and some older windows, have a safety mechanism on the frames themselves.  On the top window pane frame, one or two tabs exist that, when pulled out, do not allow the windows to be open more than 1-2 inches.  This is a great safety measure to include as another way to protect against break-ins.

 

If a window does break and Seminary Properties finds that it was broken by the residents, the residents will be charged the cost of labor and repair.

 

-back to top-

I believe there's a gas smell

 

If a resident believes a gas smell is present in the apartment, they should first check to make sure all pilot lights are lit.  Pilot lights are a small, blue flames located under the oven, under the stove and in the hot water heater.  If a resident has a stove/oven that produces a clicking sound before igniting, it does not have a pilot light; instead, it has an electric igniter.  If a resident has a hot water tank that has easily removable metal panels at the bottom, it is located inside the compartment behind those panels.  If the metal panels are not easily removed and have wires running into and through the metal panels, the hot water heater has an electric igniter and no pilot light.

 

To re-light the stove pilot lights: lift up the stove lid.  In between both front and back burners will be a small round metal circle.  Run a flame over these circles and a small blue flame will ignite.  The flame is small and there should be one on each side of the stove.  Please note, this will also cause the top of your stove to be warm at all times; this is normal while the pilot lights are lit.

 

To re-light the oven pilot light: under the oven, in the boiler compartment there is another area that houses a pilot light.  Run a flame in the middle back of the boiler compartment and a small flame will ignite.  The stove/oven pilot lights do not release enough gas to be dangerous unless a resident is gone for a week or longer with a pilot light being out. 

 

If the pilot light is out inside the hot water heater and the water heater has metal covers that reveal an opening.  a person will need a long lighter, long match or long piece of paper with one end lit on fire.  Turn the gas dial to “pilot” and hold down, put the flame device inside the opening following the long pipe the feeds inside the opening.  The long pipe will lead to a point where the gas is released; hold the flame over that area until a flame exists on its own.  Keep holding the gas dial to “pilot” the entire time.  After the flame has started, continue holding the gas dial to “pilot” for one minute and then rotate the dial to either “on” and/or adjust it to the desired temperature.

 

If a pilot light goes out often, call Seminary Properties office to have the problem investigated.

 

If a gas smell is noticed and all the pilot lights are on, call People’s Energy.  They will send out an emergency tech to examine the lines and find a source, if one exists, for the smell.  If People’s Energy finds anything wrong, call Seminary Properties, 773-529-3700.  If it is outside normal office hours, call the emergency line (773-977-8072).

 

-back to top-

Tile, grout and/or caulk around bath tub discolored

 

Bathtub tile and grout can build up a soap scum residue that will change to a darker color.  This coloring is often mistaken as mildew or mold, but it is not.  The effect of the build-up can be removed with strong bathroom cleaners.  Regular cleaning of the bathroom, tub, tile and grout will keep the build-up and discoloration from accumulating.

 

-back to top-

Water on floor of bathroom

 

It is very important that residents purchase a shower liner that covers the entire length of the shower, and goes at least six inches below the top of the tub.  Whenever taking a shower it is important that the liner is pulled all the way end to end, and the bottom of the liner is INSIDE the bathtub.  When these steps are not performed water will bounce off a body or a wall and find its way outside the shower area and accumulate on the floor.  The water can then seep through the floor and drip into the unit or space below the bathroom.  This can be avoided if residents acquire a shower liner that fits the shower opening and is used properly every time.

 

-back to top-

Blinds

 

Seminary Properties does not provide window treatments in its apartments. Seminary Properties will leave window treatments from previous tenants in an apartment if they are in good condition, but are not responsible for the upkeep of the blinds. Residents are allowed to install their own window treatments, as long as they are not nailed, screwed or attached to any woodwork or frame around the windows.

 

-back to top-

Exterminating

 

Seminary Properties uses an outside company for all its exterminating needs.  Seminary Properties will schedule treatments for any and all rodent and insect problems reported by residents.  Since the company used is an outside contractor and not under the employment of Seminary Properties, management cannot promise immediate treatment on the same or next day.  Once a problem is reported to Seminary Properties, an appointment will be scheduled with the exterminator and the residents will be provided as much notice as possible. 

 

If a unit reports a problem with any type of insect, the exterminator will spray the reported area or the entire apartment, as the technician sees fit.  It is recommended that residents move as much furniture or other items as possible away from the walls, so as much area as possible can be treated.  After the treatment, residents should not clean their baseboards for 2-3 weeks.  The treatment leaves a poison on the area most trafficked by insects; the residue gets on their bodies and when they clean themselves and others, the poison eliminates the colony.  Insects clean themselves similar to the style of cats.  Cleaning an apartment regularly and thoroughly is the best way to avoid attracting insects.  If a resident has a pet, the pet should remain in one room of the apartment for the entirety of the day of treatment.  This room will not be treated and keeping the pet away from the treated areas allows time for the sprays to dry, minimizing the chances for any toxic exposure to the pet.

 

If a unit reports or suspects rodents, Seminary Properties will conduct a preliminary inspection before scheduling the exterminator.  Members of Seminary Properties management and/or maintenance team will place traps, bait and fill holes to reduce and eliminate the rodent population.  Regular removal of trash and cleaning will decrease the probability of rodents.

 

No matter what kind or size an insect or rodent infestation may be, these concerns do not warrant use of the emergency system. 

 

-back to top-

Appliances

 

Seminary Properties provides some appliances to all units.  Every unit has a minimum of a stove and refrigerator. It is important to understand the basics of these appliances and why certain problems occur.

 

Refrigerators/freezers

 

Refrigerator/freezers operate by cold air from the freezer being pushed down into the refrigerator.  If a freezer has too many items, it can block the air flow and raise the temperature in the refrigerator.  In a severe case, it can jam the fan and cause neither the refrigerator, nor freezer to work. 

 

If a resident notices that the refrigerator is not making any noise, and the temperature is rising, it does not mean it is broken.  Refrigerators go through cycles, and will shut down for a period of time; this time period can be as much as two hours before it kicks on again.  If the refrigerator is doing this, the lights in the refrigerator will still be working. 

 

If there is no noise and the lights inside the refrigerator are not on or working, check the circuit breaker box to make sure power is going to the refrigerator.  Remember, check for loose circuits that are not fully in the “on” position or are loose to the touch.   If a circuit is found to be in this position, make sure to turn the switch all the way in the “off” position, holding it there for a minute, then turn it all the way to the “on” position, holding it there.  Check the refrigerator to see if the light has come back on.  If it has not, find the outlet it is plugged into.  Refrigerators are often plugged into GFI outlets, which have circuit breakers built into the outlet.  When looking at the outlet, find the two buttons in the middle that say “test” and “reset”.  If a fridge has no power, push the “reset” button in fully.  Check to see if the power has come back on.  If the power is still out, call Seminary Properties and management will contact the appliance repair specialist.  This specialist is an outside contractor and does not work directly for Seminary Properties; management is unable to guarantee an immediate response.  

 

A refrigerator not having power does not constitute an emergency.  A refrigerator can maintain cold temperatures for food for 1-2 days if the door is not opened often.  Seminary Properties will not be able to get an appliance technician out on weekends.

 

If a fridge is leaking at the bottom, call Seminary Properties so the appliance specialist can be notified.

 

Stoves/Ovens

 

All apartments are equipped with a stove/oven.  Please remember that Chicago Building Codes requires carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to be placed within a certain distance bedroom doors in newly rehabbed apartments.  As a result, using the stove/oven can frequently trigger a false alarm on these detectors if the bedroom door is within a close proximity to the kitchen.  To avoid this problem make sure that oven and stove are clean and clear of any burn stains, food fragments or flammable items.  These items can trigger the detectors very quickly.

 

If a gas smell is noticed in the apartment, most of the time it is from a pilot light that has gone out in the stove/oven.  If a resident has a stove/oven that produces a clicking sound before igniting, it does not have a pilot light; instead, it has an electric igniter.  If the stove does not create a clicking noise when lighting the stove and oven have a pilot light.  To re-light stove pilot lights: lift up the stove lid.  In between both front and back burners will be a small round metal circle.  Run a flame over these circles and a small blue flame will ignite.  The flame is small and there should be one on each side of the stove. To re-light the oven pilot light, under the oven, in the boiler compartment there is another area that houses a pilot light.  Run a flame in the middle back of the boiler compartment and a small flame will ignite.  The stove/oven pilot lights do not release enough gas to be dangerous unless a resident is gone for a week or longer with a pilot light being out.  If the pilot light goes out often, notify the Seminary Properties office.

 

If the stove/oven has no power, check the circuit breaker box to make sure power is going to the appliance check the circuit breaker box to make sure power is going to the appliance.  Remember, check for loose circuits that are not fully in the “on” position or are loose to the touch.   If a circuit is found to be in this position, make sure to turn the switch all the way in the “off” position, holding it there for a minute then turn it all the way to the “on” position, holding it there.  Check to see if the stove/oven is working.  If it is not, find the outlet it is plugged into.  Stoves/ovens are often plugged into GFI outlets, which have circuit breakers built into the outlet.  When looking at the outlet, find the two buttons in the middle that say “test” and “reset”.  If a fridge has no power, push the “reset” button in fully.  Check to see if the power has come back on.  If the power is still out, call Seminary Properties and management will contact the appliance repair specialist.  

 

Dishwasher

 

If an apartment is equipped with a dishwasher, please remember that it does need attention.  Most importantly, a dishwasher is not a garbage disposal.  Anything put into the dishwasher should be fully rinsed and clear of all food build-up or particles.  A dishwasher should only be loaded with dishwasher-safe soap.  Hand soap or dish soap should NEVER be used in a dishwasher as it will result in large quantities of bubbles that will overflow from the machine.  Once or twice a year it is important to check and fill the proper compartment with Jet Dry; this product helps leave all dishes clean. 

 

If the dishwasher is not getting any power, not turning on, check the power switch. Chicago City Code requires all dishwashers to be connected to a power switch.   A second cause of leaking is if a utensil or other object is improper loaded therefore jamming the rotating components inside the main dishwasher compartment.  If nothing looks to be stuck in this area, call the Seminary Properties office.

 

If a dishwasher is not draining fully, look in the bottom of the dishwasher and makes sure no food particles are clogging the drain cover.  If nothing appears to be building up at the bottom of the appliance, call the Seminary Properties office.

 

If the dishwasher not getting any power, not turning on, check the power switch.  Chicago City Code requires all dishwashers to be connected to a power switch.  The switch is designed to turn off the power to the dishwasher to prevent shocks when working on or changed the appliance.  If the dishwasher has no power, this switch may have been turned off.  The switch is located either under the sink or just above the counter and may look like a light switch.  Turn the dishwasher on to any function and flip the switch under the sink and above the cabinet.  This switch should turn on the dishwasher.  If this does not work, check the circuit breaker box to make sure power is going to the dishwasher.  Remember, check for loose circuits that are not fully in the “on” position or are loose to the touch.   If a circuit is found to be in this position, make sure to turn the switch all the way in the “off” position, holding it there for a minute, then turn it all the way to the “on” position, holding it there

 

Laundry

 

If an apartment is equipped with laundry in-unit, please remember to be responsible for a few things.  All dryers have lint traps, a container that catches all the lint from the items being dried.  This container must be emptied before every use of the dryer.  When it is full, clothes will not dry and the machine can break.  If this does happen, residents will be responsible for the cost of repair. 

 

If a laundry machine has no power, check the circuit breaker box to make sure power is going to the appliance.  Remember, check for loose circuits that are not fully in the “on” position or are loose to the touch.   If a circuit is found to be in this position, make sure to turn the switch all the way in the “off” position, holding it there for a minute then turn it all the way to the “on” position, holding it there.  Check to see if the power has come back on.  If it has not, than locate the outlet that the appliance is plugged into.  Washers and/or dryers are often plugged into GFI outlets, which have circuit breakers built into the outlet.  When looking at the outlet, find the two buttons in the middle that say “test” and “reset”.  If a fridge has no power, push the “reset” button in fully.  Check to see if the power has come back on.  If the power is still out, call Seminary Properties and management will contact the appliance repair specialist.

 

Microwave

 

Please remember that, along with hair dryers, microwaves are the leading cause of popping a circuit.  If the microwave was installed by Seminary Properties, precautions were taken to provide as many safeguards for this problem as possible.  Remember, no metal should ever be placed inside a microwave during operating.  If the microwave starts performing oddly or malfunctioning, call the Seminary Properties office, but only if this is a microwave installed by Seminary Properties.

 

Garbage Disposal

 

The vast majority of apartments managed by Seminary Properties do not have garbage disposals in the kitchen sinks.  No food or any other items should be disposed of or forced down a drain, especially those without garbage disposals.

 

If an apartment is equipped with a garbage disposal, very few are, there are a few very important things to remember.  First, always run the garbage disposal while the water is running.  Second, if the disposal is making an unusual grinding noise, something is stuck inside it.  Turn the power off (the power for the garbage disposal is located on the kitchen counter and looks like a light switch or is located directly under the kitchen sink inside the cabinet), reach inside and pull out any silverware, bottle caps or other items that the garbage disposal can not grind.    Once the item is removed, the disposal should function properly.  Third, if the garbage disposal will not turn on, locate the “reset” button under the disposal, which is under the sink.  Normally this reset button is red.  Before pushing the button, make sure the power is off and nothing is obstructing the machine.  If the machine is clear, press the “reset” button and turn the power back on.  If the machine is still not working, call the Seminary Properties office.

 

-back to top-

Mold/Mildew

 

Mold is a result of moisture that is not properly dried and/or cleaned, having contact with a surface for a long period of time, usually several days to weeks.

 

If a wall, ceiling, sink, shower or grout/caulk start changing colors, it is rarely mold.  In the case of a wall or ceiling, if a tenant has had a leak or the weather has changed drastically, a large amount of moisture can build up in and behind the wall, turning the wall yellow, brown and/or black.  At first, this is the result of paint discoloration due to the moisture.  This moisture can exist for several days without any risk of mold developing.  If a resident ever finds a wall and/or ceiling becoming discolored, please report it to the Seminary Properties office for investigation and repair.

 

In a bathroom, it is very important to ventilate the room, especially after showering.  All apartments have an exhaust fan, window or both in the bathroom.  Seminary Properties urges residents to use all ventilation available after showers to remove the moisture from the air.  If the room is not ventilated properly, the moisture will discolor the ceiling and walls, and can cause the paint to bubble.  The discoloration is not mold, but rather just the paint reacting to the moisture. 

 

Also cleaning around the bathtub regularly is very important.  After every bath and/or shower, water and moisture remain on the caulk/grout of the tiles.  This water and moisture can turn the grout/caulk orange or brown, then black.  This is not mold, but mildew.  A strong cleaning with bleach will lighten and/or remove the color and the mildew.

 

-back to top-

Tiles coming off wall/floor

 

Bathroom and kitchen tiles can separate from the wall due to moistures build up.  If a resident ever notices tiles beginning to loosen or separate from the wall call Seminary Properties office.  Do not pull or wiggle the tile, as this will loosen the tile further and moistures will get deeper into the wall. 

 

-back to top-

Furnace / AC very noisy

 

The furnace is used for both central heat and central air; it will make noise.  The machines will make different noises depending which function it is operating.  If a resident hears a noise they have not heard before, they should first check their furnace filter.  A dirty filter can make the machine noisier because it must work harder.  A bad filter can also cause the furnace to break, making noises never previously heard.  Make sure to replace the furnace filter monthly.  It is also important to call Seminary Properties office to report the unusual noise in detail so the problem can be investigated.

 

-back to top-

Pipe under kitchen sink leaking

 

Pipes under a bathroom or kitchen sink are delicate.  When storing items under the sink, it is important to makes sure none of the items touch or bang into the pipes.  The knocking and rubbing of these pipes will loosen the seals and cause dripping and/or flooding under the sink.  If a resident notices water under their sink, call the Seminary Properties office.

 

-back to top-

How does my fireplace work?

 

If a unit is equipped with a fireplace, it is important to know how to operate the amenity properly.  Before lighting a fire, check to see if your fireplace is functional or decorative.  If the fireplace does not have a flue, chimney or venting space upward from the fireplace, it is decorative and not functional.  If a resident is unsure, they may call Seminary Properties to find out if their fireplace is functional or decorative.

 

If an apartment does have a working fireplace, find out if it is a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace.  If it is a gas fireplace it will have fake, decorative logs in the fireplace.  If it is a wood-burning fireplace, it will have nothing or possibly a log stand in the fireplace.  If a resident is unsure, please call the Seminary Properties office to inquire.

 

For either wood-burning or gas fireplaces, it is extremely important to make sure the flue is open; the flue is the covering the keeps outside air from entering the apartment when the fireplace is not in use, and allows venting when it is in use.  In a gas fireplace, there is a metal rod located above the fireplace that says “open” and “close”.  Move the lever all the way to the “open” position; this opens the flue.  In a wood-burning fireplace, a resident will need to reach up, inside the fireplace and locate a handle; this task is much easier with a flash light.  The handle must be pushed upwards; when done a space will open.  Make sure to open the flue as far as it will go to create the most ventilation possible.

 

Once the flue is open, the fire can be started.  In a gas fireplace, locate the light switch near the fireplace and turn it on.  This will start the fireplace (if the pilot light is lit).  If the gas fireplace is not starting, often the pilot light is not lit.  Seminary Properties can light the pilot light as it is often difficult.  For a gas fireplace, everything is done; enjoy the fire.  Remember to close the flue when done with the fireplace, after the fire has been turned off.  In a wood-burning fireplace, before lighting a large quantity of logs, first light a wad of papers and hold it in the fireplace.  This will reverse the draft to let smoke rise out of the chimney; it will also ensure the flue is fully open.  Once the flames and smoke from the burning paper are flowing distinctly upwards, light the kindling to burn the logs.  Make sure to put a metal fireplace screen in front of the fireplace after the fire is started, to prevent any burning embers from escaping, which can cause apartment fires.  In most units with a fireplace, tenants must acquire this metal screen; it is generally not provided by Seminary Properties.

 

In a wood-burning fireplace, when the fire is fully out, no red embers and no smoke, remember to close the flue.  The handle may be hot, so use an oven mitt.  It is recommended to clean out the fireplace after each use, so it is ready for use the next time.

 

-back to top-

Shower knob / handle just spins

 

Most shower knobs/handles are not supposed turn 360º.  If a shower knob/handle does spin in circles, the internal plumbing may be stripped.  Please call Seminary Properties office so the problem can be repaired.

 

To prevent this problem, do not force the knob/handle into the “off” position.  Water will drip out of the pipes for a few moments after the water is shut off; this is normal.  This water is simply the leftover water in the pipes; rather than remain sitting in the pipes, it will drip out just after the shower is turned off   Forcing the knob further in the off position will not stop the water, but can strip the plumbing and cause the knob/handle to spin without turning water on or off.

 

-back to top-

When I cook, detectors beep

 

All apartments are equipped with at least one smoke detector.  If a unit has any gas appliances, it is also equipped with a carbon monoxide detector.  These devices are tested to ensure they are operating correctly prior to move-in.  During a tenant’s residency, if they begin to beep, one beep every 20 seconds or so, it is the tenant’s responsibility to change the battery. 

 

The locations of these devices are mandated by the City of Chicago Building Code.  Unfortunately, these locations often require the devices to be very near the kitchen.  The steam, smoke, heat and vapors produced while using the stove or oven can trigger these detectors.  Seminary Properties can not alter the location of these devices.  If either of them go off when the stove and/or oven are not in use, it is wise to investigate further.

 

When either device goes off to alert of a possible problem, it either can have non-stop consecutive beeps, or make three quick beeps repeatedly.  If the three beeps do not recur, the detector may not be detecting a problem and could be malfunctioning.

 

If the smoke detector goes off when not cooking and a resident does not smell smoke, the alarm may be malfunctioning.  If the tenant is alarmed or they do smell smoke, they may call 9-1-1.  After the fire department has investigated, please call the Seminary Properties office if they find no problem.  If they find a problem, call the Seminary Properties emergency line (773-977-8072) immediately.  One simple step to prevent the smoke alarm from going off while cooking is to ensure the stove and/or oven are clean, and no crumbs or food particles are present; these scraps can burn while the oven or stove are in use, creating a small amount of smoke, which can cause the detectors to sound.

 

If the carbon monoxide detector goes off when no cooking is being conducted, call 9-1-1 immediately.  After the call has been made, the residents should leave the apartment and/or open windows to ventilate until the fire department has arrived and investigated.  Once the fire department has investigated, if they find the alarm was false, the resident should call Seminary Properties office to document the incident.  If the fire department finds a problem, the residents should call the Seminary Properties emergency line (773-977-8072) immediately.

 

-back to top-

Water from faucet is not clear, or has a color

 

All water coming from a faucet should come out clear.  If an apartment has been vacant for several weeks or months, the water may come out with a little yellow, but the color should quickly change to transparent.  If a resident ever finds water coming out of a faucet with an altered color for a long period of time they should call the Seminary Properties office to report it.  If it is after normal business hours, residents should call the Seminary Properties emergency line (773-977-8072) immediately.  In most cases, this is a result of the City of Chicago performing work on the water lines in the area; debris can get into the pipes during the work, causing a discoloration in the water.  It is still important to notify Seminary Properties so the problem can be documented and investigated further, if necessary. 

 

-back to top- 

 

Toilet leaking

 

If a resident finds a toilet leaking from the base of the toilet, the handle or any of the pipes connecting to the toilet, they should contact the Seminary Properties office to report the problem.  Most of these cases are not urgent and do not require use of the emergency line, but it is still wise to get the problem reported as soon as possible and fixed quickly.

 

The one exception is if the toilet is leaking a large amount of water from the base every time it is flushed.  If this does happen, call the Seminary Properties office immediately.  If it is after normal business hours, call the Seminary Properties emergency line (773-977-8072) to report it.

 

Seminary Properties often uses independent plumbers.  These contractors do not work directly for Seminary Properties, so no time for repair can be guaranteed or estimated. The earlier they are notified, the earlier the problem can be resolved.

 

-back to top-

Water takes a while to get warm

 

Regardless of what building or unit in which a resident lives, it will take a little while for water to warm up once turned on.  The water should never take longer than five minutes to become hot.  If a resident ever finds water taking too long to heat, or it does not heat at all, they should check to make sure the pilot light is lit in the hot water heater and confirm that their gas account is still active and current.  If neither of these are the source of the problem, call the Seminary Properties office to report the situation so it can be investigated

 

-back to top-

 

Locks are difficult

 

Seminary Properties provides all tenants with keys that have been tested beforehand.  Some keys may be copies of an original and may not work perfectly.  If a key does not turn when in a lock, try pulling the key out slightly and turning the key.  The key does work but may not fit all the way in to turn the lock.  Experiment with the keys to find the position it needs to be in to work.

 

If a key is unable to slide into the lock, the lock could be dry.  In the winter this can be remedied with lock deicer that also lubricates.  In the spring, summer and fall, WD-40 is enough to lubricate the lock so it will work properly.

 

If a resident notices a problem with a lock, if the lock is getting dry or is coming loose, call the Seminary Properties office to report the problem.

 

-back to top-

 

Intercom not working

 

Many building are equipped with an intercom or buzzer system.  The exterior box is labeled by unit address, and not by tenant names.  Seminary Properties will not put tenant names on an intercom box.

 

If a resident finds that the intercom is not working, call the Seminary Properties office, to report the problem.  Please be prepared with specifics as to what is not working.  For instance, when guests press the unit’s button on the exterior box, does it not make any noise in the unit?  Or, when a guest buzzes the apartment, is the resident able to hear the guest when the “listen: button is pressed?  Is the resident unable to be heard on the exterior box when the “talk” button is pressed?  Is the resident unable to grant entry to a guest when the “door” button is pressed?

 

If mail is not delivered to the entire building for a number of days and/or the mail carrier leaves a note saying they are unable to gain entry to the building, this may be a problem with the intercom system.  The mail carrier has a master key corresponding to a lock on the intercom system; this lock is the same on every intercom system on every building in Chicago.  This is how postal workers enter many buildings to deliver the mail.  If the mail carrier does leave a note or speaks to a resident about problems with entering, please call the Seminary Properties to inform them of the issue.

 

Intercom problems are repaired by an outside contractor and may take a few days to repair.

 

-back to top-

 

I was robbed / broken into

 

Safety is a high priority at all buildings Seminary Properties manages.  Many safety precautions are in place and can be implemented by a resident to provide a secure living environment.  Please see the section entitled “What basic precautions should I take for security?” for more tips on safety measures.  Even with precautions being taken, crime does occur in the City of Chicago and anywhere else. 

 

If a residence is burglarized, the first priority is to call the police (9-1-1).  After the police have been notified, Residents should immediately begin to make a list of items taken and call to report it to their renter’s insurance agency which the resident has previously chosen.  Finally, call Seminary Properties.  In most cases, the police will send a crime technician to the unit to inspect the area.  The technician will respond 1-5 hours after the initial police arrival.  Seminary Properties is not allowed to repair the damages or touch anything until after the technicians are done.

 

-back to top-

Turned heat on and there is a burning smell

 

The first time the heat is started in the fall/winter, it is normal for the furnace to produce a burning smell.  The air coming out of the vents is hot and can burn dust and particles that have settled during the summer months.  The smell should dissipate after about 30 minutes and should not return unless there is a long period of time without using heat. 

 

If a burning smell does occur for longer than half an hour, or occurs repeatedly, call the Seminary Properties office (773-529-3700).  In most cases, this is not an emergency, but will be investigated the following business day. 

 

-back to top-

Graffiti

 

The City of Chicago offers a service to remove graffiti from any building.  If a resident notices a building has been defaced by graffiti anywhere on the outside of the building, call the City of Chicago’s non-emergency line (3-1-1) and report the problem, so the graffiti can be removed.  In addition, please call the Seminary Properties office, so the matter can be monitored.

 

-back to top-

Thermostat displays low battery message

 

In apartments that have central heat or central air, the thermostats control the heat and ensure the system reaches the desired temperature. Thermostats are often wall mounted devises that allow occupants to choose the temperature they would like the apartment to maintain, turn the system off and turn the fan on/auto/off.

Most thermostats made currently have a digital display on the device and are battery operated. When the batteries being to wear out, the system does not send or receive the proper messages to run the heat or central air, if the unit is equipped with it. When this happens, the display will show a symbol of an empty batter, stay low battery or may be blank. It is important to change the batteries as soon as the message appears.

If the thermostat has a flip panel to reveal the controls, it normally has a small rectangular compartment visible that houses the batteries. If it does not have a clearly visible panel, then the entire cover plate can be removed. By feeling the back four corners of the thermostat, one of the corners will have an indentation. This indentation is designed to allow a person to apply pressure to pull the cover plate off the thermostat and reveal the batteries.

Most detectors have two AA or AAA batteries. If an apartment is unable to replace their batteries, Seminary Properties will replace the batteries for them for a fee of $2.50 per battery.

 

-back to top-