An updated rental service do-not-call list

by Joe Zekas on 11/28/12

Lakeshore East and Streeterville, Chicago IL

Note: See the 2014 version of the do-not-call list. This version of the list is out of date.

New renters in Chicago are often confused or misled by Craigslist ads into believing that they’re contacting a landlord or management company when they respond to an ad by one of the many apartment locators / finders / rental services.

Many of the rental service ads on Craigslist are for non-existent apartments or apartments only available at a higher or lower price. When an ad does represent an actual apartment, it’s likely to be advertised repeatedly by scores of rental services, none of whom have any control over the property or knowledge of whether it’s still available for rent.

The apartment locators advertise their service as “free,” and that’s an appealing argument to renters naive enough to believe that they’re not ultimately paying the one month’s rent they receive as a commission.

Finding a good apartment in Chicago is relatively easy – unless you’re using a locator service to find one. In that case, you’ll often be shown the difficult-to-rent dogs that landlords can’t rent on their own. As a bonus, you’ll be pressured into believing that these leftovers are the best available or steered into neighborhoods you’d rather avoid.

If you’re looking to rent along Chicago’s lakefront, YoChicago’s at-a-glance apartment lists make it easy to see what’s available from all the major buildings and management companies. Searching the MLS at a reputable broker site and walking around your preferred area on the lookout for rental signs will expose you to almost everything else.

An earlier version of this rental service do-not call list generated a lot of comments before comments were closed.

If Craigslist is your preferred source, we’ve prepared an updated list of the rental services / locators / finders you should avoid, and a list of the twenty-five things rental services won’t tell you.

  • Access Chicago Realty
  • American Realty / American Realty Pros
  • Apartment and Condo Center
  • Apartment and Home Seekers
  • Apartment Connection
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Apartment Group, The
  • Apartment Guys
  • Apartment Locators
  • Apartment People
  • Apartment Savvy
  • Apartment Source
  • Apartment Vigilantes
  • Apartments in Chicago
  • Blue City
  • Buzzer Real Estate
  • Chicago Apartment Finders
  • Chicago Apartment Hunters, Inc.
  • Chicago Apartment Renters
  • Chicago Apartment Seekers
  • Chicago Apartment Solutions
  • Chicago Real Estate Services
  • Chicago Rent Finders
  • Chicago Signature Properties
  • Chicagoland Property Group
  • Chicagoland Rentals a/k/a Meyers Group
  • Chicago’s Property Shop
  • ChiLife Realty
  • Chicago’s Property Shop
  • Chicago Residential Experts
  • Ciddy of Chicago
  • Continuum Brokers
  • Core Luxury Real Estate / Core Group
  • Crazy Steve
  • Downtown Apartment Company
  • Downtown Apartment Finders
  • Dream Spots
  • Dwell Chicago Rentals
  • Elan Leasing
  • Exchange Apartment Finders
  • Fulton Grace Realty
  • GoldMark Realty
  • Green Ivy Realty
  • Homescout
  • Homestead Group
  • HotSpot Rentals
  • HP Realty
  • Hybrid Realty
  • iMove Chicago
  • Just Rent Chicago
  • Kale Realty
  • Lakeside Living
  • Linear Realty a/k/a Linear Leasing
  • Live Here Chicago
  • Live Well Chicago Realty
  • Loop Apartments
  • Luxury Living Chicago
  • Meyers Group a/k/a Chicagoland Rentals
  • My Chicago Flats
  • My Place Apartments
  • My Town Realty
  • New City Rentals
  • New Urban Property Services
  • Open Path Realty
  • Premier Chicago Rentals
  • Prospect Equities
  • Quantum Apartments
  • Real rentals
  • Red Door Realty
  • Rent Apartment Leasing
  • Rent Here Chicago
  • Rent Here Realty
  • Rent Proactive
  • The Rent Pros
  • Rent Smart
  • Renters Refuge
  • Rentology
  • Second City Apartments
  • Shaw Real Estate Group
  • Spaces Property Group
  • State Street Properties
  • T-Rock Enterprises
  • Tricap
  • Trudo Realty
  • Urban Lux
  • Vesta Preferred Realty
  • VibeRent Real Estate
  • We Know Realty Corp
  • X Plus Real Estate

New rental services are constantly being spawned, so we’ve doubtless missed some. Add a comment to help us update the list.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana November 28, 2012 at 9:34 AM

What lands a company on your “do not call” list? Are there any illegal practices, or are they just placing ads for apartments that may or may not exist, then pulling the bait and switch? Wondering if any on the list should be reported for serious bad behavior.

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Joe Zekas November 28, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Dana,

You’ve posed a false either / or.

“Just” placing bait-and-switch ads for non-existing apartments is illegal and is “serious bad behavior.” Advertising properties without written authorization – almost all rental service ads – is illegal.

I’ve written many times about serious bad behavior on the part of some of the individual companies on this list. One of the recent additions, for example, has an expired license and is apparently run by an individual who never held a broker’s license. One of the companies on the list had been running an unlicensed business for a dozen years and state sanctions for that failed to put them out of business.

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Lisa February 1, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I’m curious as to whether or not you’ve actually researched each of these companies, or just looked up their names. I run a property management company here in Chicago, and while I couldn’t agree more that there are shady locating services out there, I don’t believe them all to be bad. There are a few companies I’ve worked with that are actually professional, legally run and worth using. As a smaller management company with a small staff, locating services are responsible for 95% of my rentals. Its nice to see someone calling out the unethical companies on their BS, but I can assure you there are a few companies on this list that don’t need to be avoided.

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Joe Zekas February 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Lisa,

I’ve examined in some detail the online behavior of all of the companies on the list, and am familiar with the offline behavior of a number of them.

Every company on this list earned a place there by repeated violations of the laws that govern their business.

I can assure you that none of the companies on this list are “professional, legally run and worth using” if you’re a renter.

If you’re a landlord with a bad reputation and units that are hard to rent you might have a different take on whether the rental services on our list are “worth using.” If you don’t have a solid grasp of what the law requires of a rental service you might think they’re “professional” and “legally run.”

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Lisa February 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

I actually am a landlord with a high renewal rate and a pretty good reputation. I send out resident satisfaction surveys annually, and our overall rating from our residents is 4 out of 5 stars. Yelp of course filters our good reviews, but that happens to almost all of the businesses I know personally.

I’ve also found in my own experience as a renter, going straight through management companies and dealing with their agents can be just as frustrating as going through locating services. I completely agree that there are a large number of companies that don’t practice business in the manner they should (both legally and ethically), we just disagree on a few particular companies. I noticed in a comment you made on another article that there are companies that you would not put on this list, as they practice their business legally and ethically. Which companies would you recommend?

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Joe Zekas February 1, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Lisa,

Stop trying to play us. Just stop.

If the email address you supplied is accurate, you actually work for a company with a bad reputation on Yelp. Two stars, not 4. Your filtered reviews are both bad and good, and many of the good ones are suspicious. Your unfiltered reviews are mostly bad.

Am I correct in saying that one of the companies you like shares office space with your company – and has overlapping ownership? And runs illegal ads for properties that have not given it the written authorization required by Illinois law?

You have zero credibility – anyone with any personal integrity would have disclosed the relationship with a rental service.

We never recommend specific companies – beyond making a blanket suggestion to use one of our parent firm’s clients. None of them are rental services.

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Scotty February 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Mr. Zekas –

Your implication that renters indirectly pay the one month’s commission that locators receive is simply not true. If you are going to make such a bold statement, please back it up with facts. Please. The majority of the apartment buildings websites display their pricing in real time. Regardless, whether you call up as an agent or as a renter, the pricing does not change. That is a fact. Test it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. To say that the renters indirectly pay the locators one months rent commission is saying that the buildings quote different pricing to renters with or without locators. Not true. Get your facts straight please. Thank you.

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Joe Zekas February 6, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Scotty,

Some buildings, usually with smaller, less professional landlords, do quote different prices to renters with locators and those without. That’s a fact.

More to the point I was making, renters pay the commission when they pay rent – unless you’d have us believe that landlords pay it out of gambling winnings or bank robberies or with counterfeit currency rather than out of the rent they receive. My facts are straight – what needs straightening is your grasp of economic reality.

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Scotty February 6, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Well then why didnt you say that only “some” of the “smaller” “less professional landlords” operate in this way? That is a whole lot different from your original post that implies that this is the norm for all landlords/buildings.
Now to your POINT “renters pay the commission when they pay rent”
So if renters pay commissions when they pay rent, then why do so many (90% if not all) of these high rises in chicago quote renters the same prices as locators? Who is the renter paying commission to if they have not rented with the help of a locator?

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Joe Zekas February 7, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Scotty,

You’re obviously having difficulty understanding what I said – and repeated. And it’s not what you’re saying I said.

There’s nothing I can say that will help you get the point. I think everyone else reading this gets it.

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Scotty February 7, 2013 at 1:07 AM

Joe,

As you said to another poster, stop trying to play us. Just stop.

Of course I have difficulty understanding because you are retracting on your original statement, which I think your readers can see for themselves. That being said, I also believe that contrary to your false implication, the readers will understand that the vast majority of landlords/buildings will quote a renter the same rate whether or not they are accompanied by a locator. If they don’t, then they should test it for themselves.

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Joe Zekas February 7, 2013 at 1:12 AM

There’s no variance from my original statement. You are simply unable to understand it or pretending not to.

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Scotty February 7, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Ha…..right. In the end, you’re quite often dead wrong. I just hope that not too many readers believe all of your garbage. Have a good one.

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Wembley Figenson February 7, 2013 at 10:38 AM

When developers build an apartment building there are a number of budgets that run in tandem, but are in fact separate. Operations, Marketing, Maintenance, etc. Typically, inside these budgets are various line items. One of those items, likely in Marketing, is leasing commissions.

When the developer gets the loan for the property, they borrow based on the expected rental income including the expected commissions paid.

If they pay a commission, or do not pay a commission, they will not waiver on the rent. The rents are calculated with software similar to airlines or hotels, based on occupancy, time of year, rate of leasing, showing activity, etc.

If you bring a broker, or do not bring a broker you will be asked for the same rent. They will not give a member of the public a month free in lieu of a brokerage fee. That may have been the case in the past, but now everything is run on software. The leasing agents just show the units and the rents are provided to them. From time to time for unique large homes, the building manager may grant a special concession. For example, if a baseball player wants the only 5BR penthouse.

The brokers submit their firm’s W-9 and the commissions paid are deducted from the building’s bottom line income for tax purposes. The management companies answer to the developers. The developers answer to the lenders. The lenders answer to no one.

If you hold or don’t a real estate license you answer to the state of Illinois. If the management company is a licensed entity they must only pay licensed agents.

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Joe Zekas February 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

You’re telling only a partial story of limited applicability.

The large apartment buildings do generally charge the same rent with or without a rental service. That’s frequently not true with some of the smaller landlords.

Also, commissions may be budgeted from borrowed funds or developer equity on a start-up. On an ongoing basis, they’re paid from rents paid by renters. And the costs of borrowing / return to equity need to be paid on an ongoing basis – from rents paid by renters. The notion that renters don’t ultimately pay the commissions is just plain silly and flies in the face of economic reality.

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Jacqueline June 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

I have an aversion to owning property. I owned a condo in Chicago and couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. That said, I AM a renter here, and I have found property on my own as well as through services. I have read the ordinance, and I won, the ONE time I had to go to court with a landlord. It is my understanding that in the U.S., Chicago is among the city’s with the ordinances that favor tenants — or that was the case at one time.

All of that said, this is a wonderful web site, providing a needed service.

I find it interesting that (it seems) the individuals posting here have some kind of their own vested interest in getting tenants. . .different from Mr. Zekas’ who seems to be trying to get some honest information out to those of us who are renters and looking to avoid the craziness that can occur when trying to find a decent rental property in this great (and I am NOT being facetious or sarcastic) city. . .

I’m paying no attention to those posting here with another kind of “agenda.” And while I am surprised at some of the companies on the list, I will be judicious if I do find myself doing business with any of them, but as has been my practice and preference, I will continue to try to do business with owner-rentals rather than through rental services/agencies.

I guess even if you’re reading this web site (and I’m a fan) remember ‘caveat emptor’ – for your own benefit.

A Chicago Renter for a really long time, and
“I’m NOT from here.”

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Susan July 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

What advice can you recommend to a non-Chicagoan? I am hoping to move to the city within the next month or so (dependent on the results of an upcoming job interview), and I do not have much ability to wander around and look for “For “Rent” signs. I have been cultivating a list of property mgmnt and realtors but it looks like some of those are on your list. My budget is very minimal and so I’m not going to be able to afford a high rent, ie no more than $900.

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Joe Zekas July 16, 2013 at 6:03 PM

You should be able to find a number of studios in the Lincoln Park and Lake View neighborhoods in your price range.

It’s difficult for me to give much more guidance without knowing more about what you’re looking for, i.e. preferred neighborhoods and type of housing.

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Susan July 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

I just realized I didn’t mention the main point of my post. (..my brain is a bit stressed as I’m actually flying out on Sunday for my interview next week.) I was wondering primarily as to what resources to use since you say, “Finding a good apartment in Chicago is relatively easy – unless you’re using a locator service to find one.” and not knowing the city well enough I’m not sure I want to go the Craigslist route.

As for what I’m looking for, well that’s the other difficult part. At this point I don’t even know what neighborhood I’ll be working in/near. I’m a finalist for a unique AmeriCorps apprenticeship but do not yet know what nonprofit I’ll get paired with.
I would prefer a neighborhood where I don’t have to drive much, even though I will be keeping my car, so I would like to be able to walk to grocery stores, shops, cafe’s, etc. I’m not a big fan of high-rise buildings, preferring instead older courtyard-style. And hopefully within 15 min. walk to an ‘L’ station. I visited Chicago back in December and stayed with friends in McKinley and while it was nice enough it’s too quiet and sort of suburban for me. Bridgeport seemed a bit more active and diverse but still fairly quiet to me.

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Joe Zekas July 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Susan,

If at all possible you should defer any decisions until you know where you’ll be working. Chicago has a number of neighborhoods that are highly walkable, and you may be able to find one near where you’ll be working.

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Susan July 16, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Hi Joe,
Thanks and I completely agree. All I’m doing at this stage is researching costs, neighborhoods, CTA routes, etc. I’m a bit of a over-planner/research addict, so mainly what I’m trying to do is get some things organized so when the time comes I can jump in and start making plans without having a complete meltdown trying to figure out how to find a place and who to trust to help me find a place. :) It may end-up being that I have to have an agent looking for me before I move and so it’d be helpful to know how to go about finding a reputable agent if I can’t be physically there in their office.

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Chicago Leasing Agent July 31, 2013 at 10:41 AM

As an employee of one of the companies recently added to this list – you know you’ve made it in this business when Joe adds you to the list of DNC locators! I’d still like to see the list of locators who DIDN’T make this list, though. Blue City is the only one I can think of that isn’t on the list (I’m sure there are others but I can’t see any at the moment).

I’d also like to point out that in my experience, a small landlord who uses a locator will also sometimes rely on them for pricing suggestions. It’s not that the landlord automatically has to raise their price because they’re using a locator – they were going to use us anyway – but we find a lot of times they’ve undervalued their apartments versus the market value. So, if a landlord comes to us and says I have a 2 bedroom coming up here for $1600, and we rented an identical 2 bedroom next door from a different landlord for $1750, we might suggest to them that they would realistically be able to get a little more for their rental. The idea is that if we do in fact get the “higher rent” (which is really just closer to market value), we’re valuable to them as locators (if those same people renew the following year and we don’t see a dime, they’re probably still getting more than they initially thought they could). However, in those situations, it’s never been a matter of US having a higher price and the landlord still continuing to market it at a lower price.

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Joe Zekas July 31, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Chicago Leasing Agent,

Thanks for calling my attention to an inexplicable lapse.

Blue City richly deserves a place on the do-not-call list for advertising properties on its site without the written authorization required by the Illinois Real Estate License Act.

I’ve updated the list to include Blue City.

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Joe Heath August 9, 2013 at 9:57 AM

This comment made me laugh out loud.

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Inside Edge August 1, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Of all the agencies, at Least Blue City agents are former on-site leasing agents for big landlords. Vs off the street with no experience. As for the illegal ads – show me one landlord who have ever done anything about it. They could care less. Bring them tenants and they turn their heads as to how or where they came from.

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Joe Zekas August 1, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Some landlords do cut off rental services that advertise their properties illegally, and others have ordered rental services to cease advertising.

More and more landlords are making it a condition of their agreements with brokers that the brokers will not advertise – and they’re enforcing those agreements.s

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James November 15, 2013 at 7:33 PM

I’ve worked for several “companies” on this list and I couldn’t agree more with Joe. Being naive, I figured all real estate companies are generally the same. Well, I learned the hard way. I will not go into details but do your homework before joining a real estate company. The companies on the DO NOT CALL list is just that….DO NOT CALL (for a job or for an apartment).

If you don’t have the desire to earn your license within the first month, this business is NOT for you. If you think this job is easy, this is NOT FOR YOU!

If the company is all about being glamorous, DEFINITELY WALK OUT! If they don’t offer sales, DON’T BOTHER! If they ask for training fees, YOU’VE BEEN DUPED!!!!

If they claim to have state of the art ad posting, DON’T BELIEVE IT!. State of the art programs don’t exist and if they do, it’s called phishing! The program “they” are referring to is YOU manually creating each ad posted on CL.

If they are not members of C.A.R., DON’T DO IT! You cannot simply rely on rental communities for availability. YOU NEED MLS for sales and rentals!

NO TRAINING + NO MLS + NO SALES = DON’T BOTHER

On a side note for Joe:
It would help greatly if leasing managers from rental communities would deny services from brokers that post false ads, post false Yelp reviews and should ask to see the license card that we should be carrying at all times anyways! NO LICENSE, NO TOUR! A real estate license is a privilege and should be treated as such. If you have a drivers permit, you can’t drive without someone licensed sitting next to you and that’s how the 120 day permit should be implemented. The Managing Broker should accompany the newbie till the license is earned. I almost guarantee that this would close down a lot of fly by night relocation companies. The MB for these fly by night companies just don’t care enough to make sure their companies are flying straight.

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MLS Lister January 8, 2014 at 9:03 AM

The ONLY thing working for a large north side land-(slum)-lord does for “locators” is give them access to prospects and rent rolls for thousands of units they can email solicit. There is no benefit to the consumer. In fact, they are MORE likely to only show rentals (for a full month fee) vs cheaper MLS listed condos because that is what they know. Blue Garbage and the rest of them make NO effort to cooperate with the brokerage community and benefit both their clients and their customers; (Bet they do not know one from the other).

If you list with a large brokerage, the listing is immediately posted on MLS befitting BOTH their client and the massive population of renters working with a proper agent.

As for the on-site leasing offices. Say bye-bye due to Oabama-care. Large landlords are going to outsource as evidenced by 850 LSD, Webster Square and numerous other properties coming online. Landlords are figuring out their onsite offices are a headache and now too expensive to maintain.

As a 20-year veteran of this business if you haven’t graduated to sales in this market, you are gong no-where and you should find another profession. You are a burden on our marketplace and the City.

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Whitney January 12, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Hi joe zekas.. Your post is awesome and I’m so glad you posted this list of scummy companies. After spending several months looking for a place on various sites, including craigslist, it is incredible how these companies can lie and post/re-post a hundred times about an apartment that doesn’t exist etcetera. It makes it very hard to find the true listings! Is what they are doing truly illegal and can we get them in trouble for it? How do we report them? I’d love nothing more than to spend hours reporting each listing agent/company.

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Joe Zekas January 13, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Whitney,

It is, in fact, illegal for a real estate leasing agent or broker to advertise a property for rent without express written authorization from the property. Almost none of the ads you see have that authorization.

You can make a screen cap of the ad, verify with the property that it was unauthorized, and file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. You will need the advertiser’s name and will need to verify the type of license they hold: real estate leasing agent, real estate broker or real estate managing broker.

You may find that some of the ads have been placed by unlicensed agents.

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MK February 26, 2014 at 4:57 PM

A new addition or rather adjustment. Live Here Chicago, formerly Rent Here Realty.

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Joe Zekas February 26, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Thanks. It’s one of a number of d/b/a’s for Matico Inc, per the Secretary of State database:

ACTIVE – RENT HERE CHICAGO
ACTIVE – RENT HERE REALTY
ACTIVE – RIDGE & HOLLY
ACTIVE – LIVE HERE CHICAGO

I’ve verified that they’re advertising properties without the written permission that state law requires and have added the additional aliases to our list. The firm is also advertising MLS listings at its site without the MLS-required disclosures as to their source.

They’re also still doing business as Rent Here Realty.

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dwight March 9, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Joe – Everything you have written about these apartment rental agencies, in my experience as a small landlord, is completely true including Live Here Chicago (d/b/a Rent Here Realty), which turned out to be a particularly nasty one. My advice to any landlord, newby or seasoned, is to AVOID DOING BUSINESS WITH ANY OF THEM.

If you must use them, consider the agent as simply someone who found a prospect and drove them to your building. You must be at the appointment and take over the showing and answer the prospect’s questions yourself and visit with them. Later, if the agency emails their application – which is never encripted so the tenant’s personal information could be hacked – put it off to the side. Contact your prospects and invite them over for a second showing WITHOUT the agent present and have them fill out YOUR OWN application and release form and show an official photo ID.

Purchase their credit report from a vendor where you should have opened an account with beforehand. See http://www.mrlandlord.com or http://www.thelpa.com for help. These sites have alot of useful information for landlords. Using the signed release, fax the prospect’s present and former landlords for verification. All this must be at no cost to your applicant since they already paid an application fee to the agency. Later, you must use your own lease form and sign and collect funds at the apartment with only you present.

Keep the agent away. YOU CANNOT TRUST THE AGENCY TO PROVIDE YOU WITH TRUTHFUL BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PEOPLE THEY BRING OVER. I had one well known agency present a phony credit report. Another threatened to pull my listing unless I agreed to sign a lease with someone I wouldn’t meet until AFTER he moved in. Another had agents who were no-shows. Another claimed to verify employment but I found that to be a lie. Another wanted me to rent where the rent was MORE than the person’s income. Another refused to give me a photocopy of the prospect’s drivers license because “it was against Fair Housing Laws”. Another said you have to show the apartment to anyone who wants to see it – it’s unlawful to ask questions or pre-qualify.

These people do not screen who they bring over. They have a first name and cell number. That’s it, in most cases. Anybody that can fog a mirror. By not screening prospects they are annoying your tenants and putting them and their belongings and your property at risk, as well as breaking the law by not giving required advance notice. They expect immediate access. You say no pets. They bring someone with pets.

I have listed with and been solicited by many. In my opinion, all of them are sharks who only care about the commission. There is no reason to pay them to find a tenant when with a little homework, a small landlord can go it alone. The only reason they stay in business is that the majority of tenants and landlords are responsible people and the deals go through without a hitch. I’ve met only a handfull of good individual agents and guess what? They leave these sharks and go into sales with a reputable brokerage. Most of the other agents I’ve met are pleasant enough (as opposed to their bosses) but are untrained and don’t really know anything about apartments or how to show them and thus are time wasters.

Joe, keep up the good work with putting forth reliable information. I will wait for comments telling me how wrong I am in this rant. But you know what? I don’t care what anyone says. Having been landlording for over thirty years, this is what I’ve experienced.

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Tom April 17, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Joe:

I have a stepdaughter who recently co-signed for a studio apartment on Ashland handled by American realty Pros (their first mistake).

Within not even a week, she and her roommate received a note at their door saying they had to move out, because they “couldn’t have two people in the apartment”, even though other studios in the same building have two people living in them–the building owner “would get fined if they stay”.

When she was being shown the apartment she was told “not to worry about paying the cat fee of $100″ and to “just not tell anyone the second girl was going to be living there”. Since they have moved in, the building maintenance guy has dropped by at all hours (once at 10pm) without any advanced notice, insisting to come in to the apartment.

Workers installed carbon monoxide detectors in their units–again without any advance warning–apparently the building maintenance man let them in. When we talked to American Realty about moving out, they agreed to refund the first month of rent but the landlord refused to refund even half the $500 move in deposit. Since then, the ceiling has started crumbling above their shower, rendering it un-useable and dangerous. This is the result of a water leak from either the plumbing or apartment above, making me wonder if there is mold too.

What is my best leverage to get the girls’ move in deposit back, considering the events above?

Thanks in advance–

Tom

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Joe Zekas April 17, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Tom,

Same suggestion I made in reply to your comment on another post: work with the attorney you’ve been in contact with.

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Tom April 17, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Thanks–I thought I had asked the question but couldn’t find the question nor your reply, so then thought I didn’t submit. My apology for the double post, and thanks again.

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Arline May 15, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Joe-Moving to Chicago from CA after graduation from college this June. I’m flying in on Saturday for 10 days with the sole intention of finding a place. If you don’t use the services of these “leasing agents”, then how do you go about finding an apt? Craig’s List alone or do landlords still spend the money to place ads in the classifieds? Would appreciate advice as I won’t have much time to seek and trying to do so long distance is pretty much impossible. Thanks, Arline

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Joe Zekas May 15, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Arline,

The answer depends in part on where you want to live and how much rent you want to pay. If you’re looking in the lakefront communities, our lists show you all your options.

Do you have a target rent / neighborhood?

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Jessica August 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I work for hot spot rentals and we are on this list. A couple of things I would like to correct.
#1 We work with only down town high rises. They are far from the scraps of the city.
#2 We do not pull a bait and switch. We post ads for units that do actually exist. Now whether it is available for your move in date is a different story.
#3 If the company is doing the job correctly, Then they do have the right inventory available and can answer most questions about the building they are posting for.

I think you should remove Hot Spot Rentals off your list and do some research before clumping everyone into one category.

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Joe Zekas August 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Jessica,

Hot Spot Rentals has a well-earned place on this list.

Does your company have written permission, as required by law, to advertise the properties you’re advertising? No.

Are you spamming Craigslist in violation of its terms of service? Yes.

I could go on, but that’s enough to earn you a place on the list.

You should do some research about who you’re dealing with. No one is on this list without having earned a carefully-researched spot on it.

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