Tenant Handbook


Emergency Policy

Although most maintenance requests are of a non-emergency nature and are taken care of during business hours, you may eventually encounter an emergency situation in your unit during non-business hours. If this occurs, please call our answering service: (773) 854-0542.

Please remember that if an emergency occurs Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., call the office at (773) 772-5015, not the emergency line. During non-business hours and on holidays, you may call our emergency number. Please give the operator your name, address and unit number, telephone number where our maintenance person can contact you directly, and then the nature of your situation. A member of our office staff will return your call and a maintenance engineer will be dispatched if necessary.

It should be noted that emergencies are very specifically defined. If your situation is not an emergency, do not call the emergency number. Instead, leave a message on the office answering machine. We will return your call as soon as possible on the following business day. If you call the emergency number for a non-emergency situation, we will charge $20.00 per incidence. The following situations warrant an emergency:

1. No heat

2. No water / flowing water / burst pipe.

3. No electricity after the circuit breaker has been thrown or fuse has been replaced, given that tenant has access.

4. Exposed live wires.

5. Burglary / break-in for which the police have been called, or which has rendered your apartment to be insecure.

6. Fire, which required assistance from the fire department, or has caused your apartment to be insecure.

Please note that lack of air conditioning and lockouts are not considered emergencies. If you are locked out during business hours, someone may be able to let you in. If it is not possible for someone from our office to let you in, or if you are locked out on a weekend or holiday, you must contact a locksmith in order to gain access to your apartment. This is at your expense. If any property (window, door, lock, etc.) is damaged as a result of your attempt to regain access to your apartment, it will be repaired at your expense. 

Rent Payments

We have a NO CASH POLICY. Payments should be made by personal check, money order, or cashiers check. We do not accept third-party checks. Rent should be made payable to the lessor named in your lease. Do not make your check out to Acorn Property Management, unless it is stated in your lease. Rent is due on the first of each month. Rent that is received after the fifth of the month will acquire a late fee. Checks that are returned by your bank for any reason are subject to a $25.00 fee as well as a late charge. If these fees are left unpaid, they will be deducted from your security deposit. If two checks are returned, we will require that you pay your rent by certified check, cashier's check, or money order. Rent payments may be mailed, or you may bring them to our office or drop box at 1819 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622. 


All moving and delivery must be done through the rear entrance. You must inform our office of the day and time you plan to move. Any moving refuse (i.e. boxes, furniture) must be broken down and deposited in the dumpster with the lid closed. If you fill the dumpster completely, please inform our office so we can arrange for an additional garbage pick-up. If you do not comply with this policy, you are subject to $50.00 fine per occurrence.



Your lease is a signed legal document that holds you responsible for all rent monies from the beginning to the end of your lease term. If you wish to sublet your apartment, it is your responsibility to find a sub-tenant. The sub-tenant(s) will be required to fill out a credit application and pay the non-refundable $40.00 application fee. If the prospective sub-tenant is accepted they will be required to sign a sub-tenant agreement. The original tenant named on the lease will be held responsible for rent payments if at any time the sub-tenant becomes delinquent on rental payments. Acorn Property Management will hold the security deposit of the original tenant and make any applicable deductions from the security deposit until the term of the original lease expires. At the end of the original lease, if the sub-tenant stays, the sub-tenant will be required to sign a new lease and submit the required security deposit. The landlord has final consent for subleasing. 

Decorating and Alterations

The tenant is not allowed to paint or alter the apartment without the landlord’s consent. No alterations to plumbing or electrical fixtures are permitted. Locks may not be changed unless we agree in writing, in which case you must provide us with a key. We will not enter your apartment without notifying you, except in cases of emergency in which you can't be reached.

Pictures should be hung with hanger sets that have thin nails. Please do not use the glue-on variety because they may damage the surface of the wall when they are removed. 


If you have locked yourself out of your apartment during office hours and someone from our office comes out to let you in, you will be charged a $65.00 entry fee. We cannot guarantee that someone will be available to let you into your apartment.

Lockouts are not considered an emergency. DO NOT CALL THE EMERGENCY NUMBER IF YOU HAVE LOCKED YOURSELF OUT. If you cannot reach anyone in our office, or if we are unable to help you, we recommend that you call a locksmith. (We recommend Amazing Lock at 773-935-8900.) You are responsible for direct payment to the locksmith. If you break a window, or damage a door or lock while attempting to gain entry into your apartment, you will be charged for any repairs necessary. If you loose your keys, and a lock change is necessary for your own or for building security, you will be charged $65.00 per lock. 


For those Leases which allow them:

We are one of the few landlords that allow not only cats, but also dogs in many of our buildings. Please do not abuse this privilege. Be considerate of your neighbors. Clean up after your pet, outside your apartment as well as inside. If your dog barks incessantly when you are not at home, we may require you to restrict your dog to certain areas of your apartment where your neighbors will be less aggravated by the dog's barking. If you have a cat, please clean the litter box frequently. 


We strive to keep our building free of pests. To prevent roaches:

-Take out your garbage daily.

-Don't leave food or dirty dishes out.

-Dispose of paper bags and cardboard boxes.

-Clean cat litter box daily

            -Pick up and dispose of your dog's waste immediately.

To repel ants, sprinkle bay leaves bay leaves in the back of your cabinets.

If you have a pest problem that you are unable to remedy, please call our office with your request for pest control or you may place your request online by submitting a maintenance request.


Your monthly parking rent entitles you to use a sticker/tag that prevents your car from being towed. This sticker must be affixed to the interior windshield above your city sticker so that it is clearly visible through the front windshield. Check your sticker frequently to make sure it is securely affixed to your windshield.

If your car is towed for any reason, do not call us. We have no authority over the tow truck drivers. We receive no money from the towing companies, and can't judge the legitimacy of your complaint. Do not deduct the towing fee from your rent, or we will suspend your parking privileges. Your parking rental payment is due and is payable to the same entity as your rent; you may use one check for both. When you vacate your apartment, you must return your parking sticker, even if it is in shreds. If you don't, we will deduct one month's parking fee from your security deposit. 


The "Blue Bags" for Chicago's recycling program can be purchased at most grocery stores. "Blue Bags" and bags of non-recyclable garbage must be placed together in the garbage bins with the lids closed. Anyone found violating this rule will be charged $50.00 per occurrence.

It is best to use 2 - 3 mm thick trash bags tied with twist-ties. Please replace the lid on the garbage can and DO NOT LEAVE YOUR GARBAGE ON THE BACK PORCH OR IN COMMON HALLWAYS; this will help prevent pest problems. 


Please do not leave your doormat outside your door. This can cause someone to fall down the stairs. Instead, put them inside your door. 


Bathtub and shower

Always use the shower curtain, making sure it is closed completely to prevent water spillage onto the floor, and possibly into the tenants' apartment below.

If the caulking between the tile and the tub splits, please contact us so we can repair it before there is any major water damage. If your water pressure in the shower is low, first try cleaning the showerhead by removing it and soaking it in white vinegar. Then try scraping out any mineral deposits in the jets. If this fails to correct the problem, please contact us. The best way to remove dirt from the anti-skid surface on the bottom of the bathtub is with Dow bathroom cleaner.


Please do not use toilet bowl cleaners that must be submerged in the tank, for they will harm the plumbing and cause the toilet to leak underneath. If your toilet is clogged, first try plunging it. NEVER put tampons, sanitary napkins, empty toilet paper rolls, grease, or any other objects that are not meant to be flushed down the toilet. If you do and a problem ensues, you will be charged.


Once a month, use a coat hanger to remove hair from your drain to prevent blockages. NEVER pour grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into a can, let it harden, and dispose of it in the garbage. We request that you do not use any type of chemical clog removers in your drain. It is helpful to pour bleach in drains once a month to keep drains free flowing.


Newer gas stoves have pilot-less ignitions. To ignite the burner, turn the knob to START and wait for the clicking sound. When the burner ignites, turn the knob immediately to adjust the flame level. If you leave the knob in the START position, it will wear out the starter unit. Older stoves have a pilot light under the top burner panel and/or at the back of the broiler. If you smell gas, be sure these pilots are lit. Clean your broiler tray after each use to avoid a fire. Use oven cleaners only on the inside of your oven, since they tarnish chrome and aluminum surfaces.


We recommend using a name-brand dishwashing detergent, preferably liquid. Cheaper brands do not dissolve as effectively and tend to gum-up in the dishwasher. NEVER use laundry or other detergents in your dishwasher. Rinse your dishes completely of any food particles before loading to prevent clogs in the water line and motor. Remember, it is a dishwasher, not a disposal.


Certain refrigerators need to be defrosted. You should try to do this every 2-3 months. DO NOT use an ice pick, knife, or any other sharp objects to chip ice from the surface of your freezer. This will cause damage to the refrigerator that you are liable for. To speed the defrosting process, place a pot of boiling water in the freezer. This will melt the ice enough to be easily removed by hand. 

Electrical Outlets/Light Bulbs

Electrical Outlets

If your apartment has been remodeled since 1985, the bathroom has electrical outlets with reset buttons on them. If you lose power in that particular outlet, simply press the button and the power will be restored. If the power is not restored, check your circuit breakers and reset any that have flipped off.

Light Bulbs

It is your responsibility to change your own light bulbs. If the socket is out of reach, you may call and request to have maintenance change it for you. Your bulb will be changed the next time a maintenance person is at your building, but you must supply the light bulb.


We strongly suggest that you take advantage of the "line backer" service offered through your telephone company. It is a type of phone insurance. For a few dollars a month, you are insured in the event of any service calls. Call your phone company for details. We are not responsible for any repairs necessary to your phone line or jacks. 


For safety's sake, use a maximum of three fire logs that are four inches in diameter and 18 inches in length. Always use a fire screen. Never leave the fire unattended, and do not have a fire burn longer than four hours. NEVER burn garbage.

Heat/Air Conditioning


If you have gas forced air heat, change your filter monthly for maximum efficiency. The filter is located either in the fan compartment, or in the access panel to the cold air return duct. To change the filter, open the fan compartment or vent cover to the cold air return duct. Remove your filter, and wash it in your bathtub (if it is a washable filter) or replace it with a new filter of the exact same dimensions. Be careful to replace the cover properly, as some furnaces will not work if the cover is not on right. To prevent fires, never store boxes, rags, or flammable liquids next to your furnace.

If you have radiator heat, turn the valve to the left (counter-clockwise) to turn it on, and right (clockwise) to turn it off. Do not open your windows to cool your apartment. To adjust your heat you can use these valves, but each radiator must be all the way on or all the way off. Anywhere in between will make the radiators bang, and eventually make them inoperable. If your radiator drips or knocks, please contact us.

Air Conditioning

When turning on central air conditioning, run just the fan for about a minute before turning on the air conditioning. It is a good idea to run the fan on manual the entire time that the air conditioning is on. With window or sleeve units, always leave the vent in the closed position. Rinse out or change the filter monthly during periods of heavy use.


It is very important for you to be security conscious. Make sure vestibule doors, gates, and back porch doors are closed and locked. Lock all locks to your apartment. If you live in a garden or first floor apartment, make sure all of your windows are locked. 

Storm Windows

Triple-track storm windows are not designed to be removed. Instead, push them up to the top of the window unit. If the windows are hard to move, spray WD-40 lubricant on the tracks and notches. You are responsible for making seasonal changes.

Laundry Facilities

For your convenience, some of our larger buildings have laundry machines. For everyone's benefit, please follow these guidelines:

- Do not overload the washer because clothes may get tangled in the motor, or get wedged between the tub and body.

- Do not use nickels, slugs, bus tokens, or foreign coins. They will jam the machine causing it to be out of order for several days until it can be repaired.

- Keep the laundry room door shut and locked at all times. 

Security Deposits

In order to be refunded your security deposit in full, you must:

            - Remain for the full term of your lease.

- Leave your apartment with no damages.

- Clean the apartment, including the appliances. There is a $15.00/person/hour cleaning charge if   the premise needs to be cleaned.

- Do not leave any trash or unwanted furniture in the apartment, storage bins, halls, yard, or back    porch.

- Pay your rent and any other fees.

- Return all keys, including mailbox key, to the Acorn Property Management office.

- Return any parking stickers you may have.

Please make sure to call or write us with your forwarding address. Your security deposit refund check will be sent to you, or can be picked up from the office within 30 to 45 days after you move out. Security deposit checks will be made out to all persons listed on the lease. We cannot divide the check.