A blizzard of apartment lies on Craigslist

by Joe Zekas on 11/20/12

Chicagoland Property Group is a charter member of YoChicago’s rental service do-not-call list.

A Craigslist search late yesterday surfaced more than 2,500 ads placed on behalf of the firm in just two days.

The first ad that I drilled in on touted a South Loop building with an indoor pool and racquetball courts. I’d been in a model unit in the building recently, and immediately recognized the pictures of the model in the ad.

The building once had an indoor pool and racquetball courts, but they’ve been closed for about 8 months and will not re-open. The space is being converted to other uses.

I contacted Jordan Ehman, the agent who placed the ad, and he insisted that the pool and courts existed. As “proof” he emailed me a link to a description of the property at another rental service! In a subsequent phone call, he did acknowledge the pool and courts were gone, and said he would correct his ads.

You’ll note from the screen cap of the ad that “free gas” is included in the rent – a difficult feat at an all-electric building.

I sampled more of the firm’s ads, which amounted to a blizzard of lies. There were ads for studios in buildings that never had any, ads for apartments that aren’t available, lap pools in buildings that only have resistance pools, buildings in the “heart of the Gold Coast” that are a half-mile removed from the edge of the Gold Coast, keyword stuffing to waste your time and frustrate you, etc. etc. etc.

Chicagoland Property Group isn’t the only firm that engages in systematic deception and abusive advertising practices. It’s merely one of many. The wonder is that the federal, state and local regulatory agencies that are charged with protecting consumers against these abuses have allowed them to continue for years, with no indications that any effective action is in the offing.

Consumers can best protect their interests by skipping Craigslist and the rental services and dealing directly with landlords, and with reputable full-service brokerage firms that list available rentals in the MLS. Check YoChicago’s at-a-glance apartment lists, or contact one of the brokers on our parent firm’s client roster.

If you’re determined to work with a rental service, learn the twenty-five things they don’t want you to know.

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