By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) — Conventional wisdom says you’re not supposed to spend more than a quarter of your income on rent, but rents have soared so high in Chicago. Many renters are now spending more than a third of their paycheck for a place to live.

In this Original Report, Dorothy Tucker tells us why reasonable rents are a rarity.

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Don Miller is in search of a two bedroom in Lakeview. His budget is $1,500 a month, but says he is finding rents of $1,700 or more.

“It was just insane,” said Miller. “I could not believe it.”

Mike Catanses of Apartment People says rents are at a record high, partly because vacancies are low, more people have jobs, but buying a house still presents a challenge for some.

“So renting is safer for short term for people who either can’t get approved or are afraid to take on the responsibility of a mortgage,” said Catanese.

The rush to rent is pushing downtown occupancy rates to the highest levels in 10 years. According to Appraisal Research Counselors, two thirds of units are occupied.

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As for the cost, get ready to shell out $3,700 a month for a two bedroom for a luxury high rise with first class amenities.

“I would say it’s a landlord’s market,” said Landlord Dave Kurtz.

So landlords like Kurtz get to charge renters renewing their leases three to five percent more. New renters might face new fees, extra charges for water and sewage, a non-refundable move-in fee and now you’ll pay for your pet, perhaps $5 a month.

Renters may not be happy, but like Miller, they’re learning that shopping around in this market can be risky.

“Lakeshore and Sheridan, perfect two bedroom apartment, was gone in two days.

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If you’re patient you might see some movement in the market. Some 17 more rental buildings in the larger downtown are under construction or about to break ground, delivering about 4,700 more units by late 2015.

Dorothy Tucker