Condo – a dirty word for apartment rental services

A while back we wrote about 2-bedroom, 2-bath units in a full-amenity condo high-rise renting for the same price ($1,950 a month) as a convertible studio directly across the street in a full-amenity rental building.

If you were working with one of Chicago’s parasitical rental services you would not have been offered the choice between the two buildings. The primary reason is simple: the rental service would have had to split the traditional one-month commission 50/50 with the agent who listed the condo for rent, but would receive a full month’s commission from the rental building.

If you’re considering working with a rental service, ask whether they’ll show you MLS-listed homes and condos in addition to managed rental properties. If the answer is “no” or equivocal or “yes” and later proves to be untrue, move on quickly unless you’ve already found your ideal apartment through the rental service.

The flip side of this scenario is that you’ll often find that traditional MLS-oriented agents won’t show renters units in managed rental buildings, but that’s a topic for another day.


  • Harrison 6 years

    I am coming to Chicago in early May to look at apartments. How can I find a MLS-oriented agent?

  • Harrison,

    Contact a local office of one of the major brokerage firms that are our parent firm’s clients: Coldwell Banker, Jameson, Koenig & Strey or Prudential Rubloff. Ask the manager to refer you to an experienced agent who works with rentals.

    Sorry, but given the number of people we work with we can’t make specific recommendations.

  • Pete 6 years

    I highly recommend renting in full-amenity condo buildings. I’ve been doing it for 7 years and its a better experience all around.

  • Pete,

    Same building or different ones? How about offering some of the pluses and minuses of buildings you’ve lived in?

  • Pete 6 years

    2 different buildings. Both with door staff, onsite maintenance, fitness room, etc. They offer all of the same amenities as most apartment buildings but the staff is more responsive. They have to be – as the owners are their boss.

    Typically, individual landlords are less likely to raise rent from year to year on good tenants as they don’t want to make the tenant move out and take the chance of leaving the place empty or getting a deadbeat to move in.

    As for the minuses of renting in a condo building vs. all rental apartment building, I can’t think of any.

  • SheridanB 6 years

    You will be a second class citizen in a condo building – rental buildings are set up for renters and their different needs than a condo building is (or should be). One of the reasons I chose to buy a co-op, no investors.

  • SheridanB,

    You raise a very good point as to second-class status.

    Some buildings are extremely hostile to renters and go out of their way to annoy them and treat them with disdain.

  • Pete 6 years

    Luckily I never lived in any such building. Most people in a condo building don’t know or care who rents vs owns. If someone is really giving you crap about being a renter, Chicago and Cook County ordinances are generally in your favor.

  • Kat 6 years

    i know surely not all condos are like this but yes, I have to concur with SheridanB about being treated like 2nd class citizens in the building