Is this rental service agent running a charity scam?

by Joe Zekas on 3/28/14

I highly recommend avoiding Chicago’s rental services and working with an established broker at one of the large reputable firms if you’re going to use a broker when looking to rent a new home. I’m obviously biased by the fact that our parent company’s client base includes a number of Chicago’s largest traditional brokerage firms.

If you’re among the many renters who snort at that sage advice and head for Craigslist, the least you ought to do is research the rental agent before responding to his or her ad. Spending a few minutes can save you a great deal of grief.

I periodically scan Craigslist ads and post about questionable agents so that Google calls them to your attention.

The first Craigslist rental ad I focused on yesterday was placed by “Virn Rose” of Kale Realty. It was one of more than a hundred ads she’d placed. I couldn’t find a current real estate license for Virn Rose in the IDFPR database, but that’s to be expected with a new agent.

A Google search for Virn Rose yielded up almost nothing except rental ads, so I searched the phone number in her ads. That led me to the Covenant Veterans Home website you see in the screen cap. Searching the non-typo version of Virn’s email at that site leads to her Facebook page.

Covenant Veterans Home (CVH) purports to be a 501(c)(3) charity and is soliciting funds online. That solicitation requires CVH to register with the Illinois Attorney General’s office. It’s not registered, according to a search at the Attorney General’s Charitable Database.

The Internal Revenue Service grants qualifying organizations 501(c)(3) status and maintains a record of them in a searchable database. The IRS site has no record of CVH.

I placed several phone calls to Virn Rose’s and CVH’s phone numbers but didn’t leave a message when routed to voice mail.

What I found online makes me wonder whether this rental agent is running a charity scam.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

D.J. Paris July 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

This person is not an agent or broker of Kale Realty. Thanks for alerting us to this situation.

Reply

Joe Zekas July 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM

D.J.

You could have thanked me in person if you’d accepted my phone call.

I find it amusing that your response comes two days after the expiration of the individual’s student leasing license – which was sponsored by Kale Realty. Did she not pass the license exam?

You might, more accurately, have stated that “This person is no longer an agent or broker of Kale Realty, as of two days ago.”

P.S. You can also thank me by policing your agents better so that they comply with the requirements of the Illinois Real Estate License Act re advertising without written authority, and by having them prune their nearly 1,300 spam ads on Craigslist.

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