The Illinois Real Estate License Act makes it illegal for a licensed rental service to advertise property for rent without written authorization from the property owner or its authorized agent. Chicago rental services place 10s of 1,000s of illegal ads on Craigslist every week. Until recently, they were able to do that with impunity, despite the fact that the License Act provides for fines of up to $25,000 and license suspensions or revocations.
One month ago YoChicago launched the Craigslist Apartment Cleanup, with a goal of eliminating all illegal rental service advertising. We’ve gained the support of major landlords, and have been monitoring and documenting illegal rental service advertising on Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, hotpads, company websites and more.
We’ve emailed several dozen rental agencies specific notices that their advertising was in violation of the License Act. Everyone we’ve emailed has continued to advertise illegally, and we’ve continued to document the violations. In due time our documentation will be the basis of disciplinary complaints filed against a number of large Chicago rental services.
If Chicago rental services think they can continue business as usual and remain in business – and they apparently do – they’re living in cloud-cuckoo-land.