Lies Chicago rental services tell – apartment listings

by Joe Zekas on 3/3/14

Almost every Chicago rental service a/k/a apartment locator a/k/a apartment finder claims to have the largest database of listings in the city. They can’t all be telling the truth, and it’s likely that nary a one of them has any factual basis for making the claim.

If you evaluate the rental services’ listings by a traditional broker’s most common definition of a listing – an exclusive right to sell or lease a property – you’ll find that almost all of them have either no listings or very, very few. The rental services are all competing to advertise, show and rent the same properties.

Almost all of the repetitive rental service ads you see on Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, HotPads and other sites are placed without the written authorization from the property that Illinois law requires. Many of those ads are placed by rental services that have no relationship whatsoever with the property they’re advertising. Some of the rental services aren’t even allowed to set foot on the properties they advertise. You’re being asked, as a renter, to believe that you’ll save time and get a better deal by doing business with someone who’s breaking the law and wasting your time with repetitious ads that may be pure bait-and-switch.

You can read many horror stories of the problems experienced by renters who’ve worked with rental services. You can spare yourself the risk of becoming a victim by dealing directly with landlords and management companies.

If you’re looking in one of the neighborhoods covered by our at-a-glance lists, you’ll find virtually every managed rental property on those lists. You won’t find many of those properties in the rental services’ “largest database of listings” because a number of large landlords don’t allow any of the rental services to show their properties. When you work with a rental service, you’re taking a pass on some of the best apartments out there.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori March 3, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Is this your opinion or do have real data to back it up? With 1000′s of Ad’s on craigslist posted by landlords, management companies, apartment finding services, and brokers, its hard to believe you know every agreement /relationship on craigslist. What are your thoughts on management companies that continue to send “hot sheets” and offer incentives to get agents to their buildings? Why do management companies continue to do business with these companies that allegedly break the rules so often? Have you spoken to every private owner in regards to their agreement with these illegal ads?

I wish you did more to educate the consumer on locating an apartment in Chicago. All you do is bash everyone except your sponsors and this website. Many of your sponsored management companies are just as dishonest as some of the agencies you talk about on this blog. For a man that claims to be a jack of all trades, you do little to help the problem here in Chicago.

Reply

Joe Zekas March 3, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Lori,

Your comment is another illustration of the lies rental services tell.

You make a fool of yourself when you say that all I “do is bash everyone except” our sponsors and this website. You sound like you wish I did less to educate renters about rental services.

There’s more consumer education info on this site than anywhere else in Chicago, including comprehensive apartment lists, rental guides, more than 2,500 videos, reviews and up-to-date information.

Did you forget the other screen name under which you post, appearing to be a shill for rental services?

I know the details of many properties’ arrangements with rental services – and no, they don’t authorize the ads that rental services run. What I’ve reported is fact-based, not just opinion.

I don’t accept dishonest companies as sponsors, which is why you see no rental service advertising here. It’s nauseating for a cowardly anonymous creep like you to slander honest businesses.

Reply

Lori March 4, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Let me be clear, I genuinely wish you did more educate the consumer and I am no fool. Advertising a building or property management group is not consumer education.

Also, you haven’t answered my question. Why do these buildings continue to do business with with apartment finding agencies and brokers if they continue to break the rules? How can you possibly know the agreements of so many properties? I imagine that would be a full time job.

I feel like my questions are valid and I will refrain from name calling. If you did the same, it might add to your credibility.

Reply

Joe Zekas March 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

You look at our neighborhood maps, at-a-glance apartment lists, rental guides, apartment reviews, more than 2,500 videos and other content and see only “advertising a property or management group?” You expect anyone who’s not shilling for a rental service to agree with you?

Buildings do business with the rental services because the services have captured enough renters that they feel they have no other choice. They don’t like it, and they don’t discipline the rental services in part because they fear the kind of vicious lies that some of the rental services spread about buildings that don’t cooperate with them. They also don’t have the time to police the behavior of 100s of lawless rental service agents.

I do know the agreements that many property management firms have with rental services. I’ve been around this business a long time and talk to a lot of people.

I always get a laugh out of anonymice with multiple screen names commenting on my credibility.

Reply

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