Rental services sneer at 500 LSD ban on Craigslist ads

Unlike a number of buildings that don’t allow rental services to advertise their property anywhere, 500 Lake Shore Drive‘s broker agreement (PDF) explicitly authorizes them to advertise on their own websites. Rental services are prohibited from advertising the property on Craigslist or other sites, and are not allowed to use their own photos in any advertising.

Advertising a property without specific written authorization is a violation of the Illinois Real Estate License Act. A rental service that advertises 500 Lake Shore Drive (“500 LSD”) on Craigslist is violating state law as well as the 500 LSD broker agreement. That’s assuming the rental service signed a broker agreement with 500 LSD – it may be advertising the property without having any valid relationship with it. Downtown Apartment Company is clearly violating state law with the ad for 500 LSD – one of a number – pictured above. We don’t know whether 500 LSD has signed a broker agreement with the company.

Some other points in Downtown Apartment Company’s ad are worth noting. Convertibles at 500 LSD are far short of 750 square feet in size and aren’t available for $1,825 a month. The ad says that “This convertible at this price will not last long!” Count on a bait-and-switch game if you’re foolish enough to call.

We’ve cited only one of scores of illegal ads for 500 LSD on Craigslist. You’ll find many more on Zillow, Trulia, HotPads and other sites. It will be interesting to see whether 500 LSD takes any action against the offending companies or wimps out on protecting its interests and yours. My bet: count on seeing 100s more illegal ads from the same companies.

It’s our considered opinion that only clueless renters would use a rental service to “find” an apartment in Streeterville. Rental services routinely disregard their legal obligations to the public and to their “clients.” Beyond that, it’s trivially easy to scan our at-a-glance list of Streeterville apartments, visit their websites, see accurate floor plans, photos and property information. Most of the buildings have a near real-time check online for you to see which apartments are available at the time of your intended move, and what the rent is.

Many naïve renters are suckered by rental services into believing that they can get a better deal by working with a rental service. 500 LSD’s broker agreement is typical of the policies adopted and enforced by almost every major management company with regard to rental services:

Broker and its licensees shall actively engage in the “selling” process at all times while at the property.

Broker and its licensees shall not attempt to negotiate rental rates or fees on behalf of clients.