Chicago rental ripoffs – ten terrible scofflaws at Zumper

Chicago rental service apartment ads on Zumper.com frequently include an Instant Apply button and a property address and description. A renter could reasonably conclude that following through on the Instant Apply process results in an application to the property for an apartment. Any renter that does so is making a costly mistake.

We sampled a single ZIP Code at Zumper and quickly identified ads from 10 brokers for properties that a) do not allow brokers to advertise on their behalf and b) do not allow brokers to accept applications for apartments. In each case, we have no doubt that the brokers have full knowledge that renters need to apply directly to the properties rather than via an Instant Apply link at Zumper.

If a renter follows through on the Instant Apply process, the renter is charged a fee and Zumper shares that fee with the broker.

In other words, scofflaw brokers are advertising properties in violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act and attempting to charge renters for something of no value to the renters . In my book, that’s fraud.

Each of the following terrible ten rental service agents has multiple ads at Zumper with the Instant Apply feature:

  • Fulton Grace Realty – Brad Magnant. Aaron Nowak
  • Homescout – Catherine Yager
  • HotSpot Rentals – Stephanie Caine, Casey Miller, Randy Pahr, Barbara Piasecka
  • Vesta Preferred Realty – Lore Mmutle. Dino Sarancic, Scott Tran
  • We’ve singled out Barbara Piasecka in the above screen cap for special attention because she holds a Real Estate Managing Broker license in Illinois. That makes her conduct particularly perverse.

    To repeat, we sampled a single ZIP Code. You’ll find many more agents advertising illegally and attempting to rip you off at Zumper.

    Finding an apartment in Chicago’s prime near-lakefront is easy if you avoid rental service brokers. You’ll be exposed to a broader selection of properties and you’ll often be able to negotiate a better deal on rent when you ditch the brokers and contact the properties directly.

    You’ll find accurate information about properties in Chicago’s popular lakefront neighborhoods on YoChicago’s reviews and lists, and links to near real-time rent and availability info.

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