Riza Hajdarovic: Loyola’s landlord

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By: Caitlin Waldron, Loyola Sophomore

This past year all sophomores at Loyola were forced out of their housing contracts and apartments were being taken left and right. If you didn’t lock down a place the day you viewed it, you often did not get it.

Then there was 6230 N Kenmore Ave also known as Granville Apartments. When you see the green pavilion, you know you’re in the right place.

It’s affordable and a block away from campus. Before the pandemic, Granville Apartments only had a few college students, and now it’s inhabited by mostly Loyola students.

As a result of this, Riza Hajdarovic the property manager of Granville Apartments, has become a minor campus celebrity. Riza, as he likes to be addressed, not only manages the building but lives in it as well, so residents run into him all the time.

When running into him, he is always kind, sociable and never hesitates to say “Hello!” or ask “How are you?” Every resident has his number and most definitely have sent the text to please come unclog the drain or kill a spider. 

As he reminisces about his life in Montenegro where he grew up and how he provides for his family in the States, Riza walks us through his day-to-day life in Granville and also shares some things he has encountered on the job.

*interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Waldron: What were you doing before working at Granville?

Riza: In Montenegro I was a college student. Montenegro was a socialist country which meant I was not motivated to finish college. I stayed past my time. I eventually finished with knowledge in everything since in my schooling you learned “real life skills” like how to be an electrician and carpenter. Before America I was from the tourist area of Montenegro and I rented out my small house, so I was already a property manager just on a smaller scale. When I finally came here from a place of socialism where everything is free, I had to adapt quickly to paying for everything. I always loved to work though, and to earn money from doing so made it even better.

Waldron: What does a normal day look like for you?

Riza: A normal day, I get up at 7 because I live in the building. I make sure everything is working like heat and water. I then take my daughter to school. My guys will come in to work 8-5 but any emergencies I handle. I am super busy. There is always something to do. I then go thru and make sure that no residents have any problems, and there are normally appointments to show apartments.

Waldron: How do you feel about this suddenly becoming a student apartment building? Any notable changes?

Riza: Actually, the building owners original plan when he bought this building was to convert this into student housing because there is no parking lot. The building was much smaller, so the plan was to remodel and make it bigger to accommodate as many students as possible. As for it now being a student building, I like it. That’s what my owner always wanted for the place, so it feels right. It is also hard to rent a four bedroom to multiple people with no parking, but with Loyola University Chicago being so close its fairly easy. Even though it’s now more students every year, the students have the same issues, so I got used to it. Also like I said, my kids live here too. All the questions from the students are the same thing my daughter asks me about.

Waldron: Have you ever received any funny or outrageous late-night calls? If so, can you elaborate on that?

Riza: Ya know my daughter she screams or drops something when she sees a spider so I understand when I get a call at 2 a.m. about a spider how they are most likely reacting, but at 2 a.m. there’s not much I can do. 

Waldron: Is there anything else you would like the people to know about you? 

Riza: Hard work always pays off. Since I came to America, I haven’t had a day off, and I am where I am now today because of it. If you work and you concentrate on your job you will achieve what you want to. I am very happy I have three kids my wife my parents and I can say 90% of my dreams have come true and I can confirm that has come from the hard work I have done.

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