The Illinois Real Estate License Act bars licensees from advertising a property for sale or for rent unless they have written authorization to do so.
Leasing agents at Chicago rental services routinely advertise properties without having the required authorization. They violate the law so extensively that Craigslist and other websites are cluttered with illegal ads. That clutter frustrates and confuses renters into using rental services.
Renee Pehanich, Scofflaw of the day
Yesterday’s scan of Craigslist surfaced an ad placed by Renee Pehanich of Trudo Realty for a property that the firm does not have written authorization to advertise.
We scanned a few more of the 303 abusively repetitive ads placed by Ms Pehanich, and verified that she had advertised at least four additional properties without having written authorization from the properties. That qualifies her as our “Scofflaw leasing agent of the day.” But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there’s more.
Ms Pehanich was licensed as a leasing agent student from January 28 to May 28 of 2014. As of October 28, 2014 she was granted a leasing agent license. Her license is on a probationary basis due to “prior felony criminal convictions.” That’s convictions with an “s.”
There are several items worth noting in Ms Pehanich’s Linkedin profile, partially pictured above. The first is that her employment history indicates no time gap in her affiliation with Trudo Realty. If she functioned as a leasing agent during the gap in her licensing she would have committed multiple criminal violations of Illinois law.
The second item to note is that she self-identifies as an “awesome Realtor.” The MRED database contains no record of her as a Realtor. If she is not a member of the Chicago Association of Realtors, claiming to be a Realtor would be a trademark violation.
I placed a phone call to Ms Pehanich to inquire about the details of her felony convictions. She declined to answer, and stated “I do everything by the book. Have a good day.” She then terminated the call.
It’s been our long experience that leasing agents who engage in one form of illegal behavior are highly likely to engage in others. It’s also been our long experience that the principals of many Chicago rental services routinely lie to leasing agents about which properties they’re legally authorized to advertise. If you’re a leasing agent, you need to see the written authorization before you place an ad.
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. 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.
As a renter, you need to know that the only safe way to avoid falling victim to a scofflaw rental service leasing agent is to avoid all rental services and work directly with properties. YoChicago’s reviews and lists make it easy for you to find an apartment in sought-after lakefront neighborhoods.
We’ll be on the lookout for our next scofflaw of the day. We encourage renters and property management firms to nominate individual leasing agents for that distinction.
Google name search for previous Scofflaw of the day awards