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Rental facts at a glance

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Cost: An overview on how much rent can be in Champaign County

Among neighboring counties, fair market rents rank the highest in Champaign County, according to 2010 federal housing data.

Rents in Champaign and Urbana range from $400 to $3,500 a month.

Depending on location, a one-bedroom apartment can rent for as little as $400 or as high as $910, said Esther Patt, director of the Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union.

Two-bedroom apartments can range from $475 to $1,600; three-bedroom apartments can rent for as high as $2,200 and four-bedroom apartments go from $800 to $3,500 a month, Patt said.

The fair market value of monthly rent and utilities in the area can range from $493 for an efficiency apartment to $1,215 for a four-bedroom apartment, according to 2010 federal housing data.

With an abundance of high rents, finding a place to live can be difficult for the more than half of the county’s renters who live on less than $25,000 year.

An estimated 34,000 county residents enrolled in college live off campus, according to data compiled from the University of Illinois and the U.S. Census.

Nonfamily households households whose tenants are unrelated make up 66 percent of the county’s rental market, according to 2008 Census estimates. Of those households, 65 percent are renters between the ages of 15 and 34, according to Census data.


By the numbers: Champaign and Urbana's rental inspection program

Housing inspections are designed to make sure that an apartment or building complies with fire or life safety codes as well as city and national maintenance and building codes.
These codes cover issues such as lack of proper heating or hot water, roof or ceiling leaks, flooding, mold, toilet problems, broken or non-opening windows, and roach or rodent infestations.

Since 2006, both Champaign and Urbana have launched a revised rental inspection program. Urbana systematically inspects the interior of all rental units while Champaign systematically inspects the common-areas of apartment buildings with three units or more.


  • Just over 200 landlords and 1,000 multi-family apartment buildings are registered.
  • More than 3,100 Champaign single-family houses and duplexes are not subject to inspection. 
  • Champaign receives an average of 200 tenant complaints a year.
  • Champaign condemns between 20 and 30 properties a year.
  • The city’s neighborhood services department has four full-time property maintenance inspectors. They must also respond to more than 3,000 nuisance cases per year, including overgrown grass and abandoned cars.


  • More than 2,450 properties are registered, including single-family and duplex rentals.
  • Urbana receives between 40 and 50 tenant complaints annually. 
  • Urbana has condemned fewer than 12 in the past five years. 
  • The city’s community development services department has two full-time housing inspectors.


Help: All you need to know to request a housing inspection in Champaign and Urbana

In Champaign, a tenant can request an inspection at any time. This is usually done via complaint, but may be done without a specific complaint.

A tenant can visit the Neighborhood Services Department in Champaign (102 N. Neil Street; 403-7070) and fill out a complaint/inspection request form. A housing inspector will then contact the tenant within 24 hours and inspect the home within 72 hours.

Tenants may file a complaint in Urbana by visiting the Community Development Department (400 S. Vine Street; 384-2436). Inspectors try to respond to a complaint within one business day and schedule an inspector as soon as possible.

In both cities, tenants should contact the property owner first and try to work out the problem with their landlord before filing a complaint; complaints are for when a landlord is unresponsive or uncooperative in addressing maintenance and safety issues.

In addition to filing a complaint, laws allow tenants in both cities sometimes to use rent money to pay for essential repairs when a landlord does not complete them in a timely manner.

However, there are several restrictions:

  • the repair must be one specified in the lease or required by city housing code and the tenant must first send the landlord a notice of intent to perform the repair at the landlord’s expense.
  • The notice must be sent through registered or certified mail and the tenant must wait 14 days after sending the notice.
  • After the 14 days, the tenant can hire an “appropriate tradesperson” to make the repair, and can then subtract $500 or half a month’s rent (whichever is less) of the repairs from the next month’s rent.
  • The tenant is also required to submit the paid bill for the repair to the landlord for proof.

Maintenance problems, leaks, flooding, and other code violations do not give the tenant the right to withhold rent or to end a lease.

However, Urbana’s 1994 landlord/tenant ordinance allows a tenant to terminate a lease in the event that his landlord is cited for violations by the city more than three times in a twelve-month period.

The ordinance also states that, if a code violation involves “essential services” such as heat and water, a tenant can obtain these services on his own and subtract the cost of the services or of a hotel room from the rent.

- Lindsay Ignatowski

¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.