Chicago’s rental service sharks are gearing up to make your search for a new apartment as difficult as possible this rental season, in hopes that you’ll be frustrated or misled into contacting them.
The primary tactic in the apartment finders’ war on renters is flooding popular websites with many 1,000s of repetitive ads. Many of those ads are deliberately misleading – at best. Many are fraudulent, and very many are posted in violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act that requires licensees to have explicit written permission to advertise a property.
The agents who place these ads are often rookies who are ignorant of their legal and ethical obligations. Many of them are experienced, cynical veterans who fully understand their legal and ethical obligations and deliberately ignore them. Some of them are managing brokers at rental service firms who routinely lie to their agents about whether the firm is authorized to advertise a property. All of them apparently assume that there are no serious consequences to their illegal and abusive behavior.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is grossly ineffective at policing advertising violations. The Chicago Association of Realtors numbers quite a few leasing agent scofflaws among its members, but has a lax approach to enforcing the advertising provisions of the Realtor Code of Ethics. Property management firms make an effort to police the rental services, but don’t have the time to cope with the sheer scale of their lawlessness. Some of the management firms have a co-dependent relationship with the rental services, and others fear a vicious backlash if they enforce their prohibitions against advertising.
YoChicago declares war on advertising abuses
This rental season we will periodically focus a powerful spotlight on individual rental service leasing agents – rookies, veterans and managing brokers alike. That spotlight is Google search, where our posts often surface on the first page of results.
Google search will ensure that the illegal and unethical conduct of a rental service scofflaw becomes known to his or her potential renters, friends, family and prospective future employers and business and social contacts. The leasing agents need to know that playing fast and loose with legal and ethical standards can alter the trajectory of their personal, professional and social life in a very negative direction for a very long time.
We have forwarded property ads placed by Khomutov to several property management firms, and have received email confirmation that he did not have the written authorization to place those ads that Illinois law requires.
It’s been our long experience that leasing agents who engage in one form of illegal behavior are highly likely to engage in others. We strongly caution you to avoid them.
We’ll be on the lookout for our next scofflaw of the day, but we also encourage renters and property management firms to nominate individual leasing agents for that distinction.
Added 2/25 at 2:40
This post was published at 12:45. Less than 90 minutes later a Google search for Daniel Khomutov Vesta ranked #1 in search results and a search for Daniel Khomutov ranked #2.