Many of Chicago’s managed apartment buildings offer “resident referral programs.” The concept is simple: refer a friend who rents an apartment in your building, and receive a discount on your rent. The amount of the discount varies by company and building. The most lucrative we’ve seen is $1,000.
The Illinois Real Estate License Act makes it illegal to collect referral fees without holding a broker’s license. The Act provides a narrow exception for:
Any resident lessee of a residential dwelling unit who refers for compensation to the owner of the dwelling unit, or to the owner’s agent, prospective lessees of dwelling units in the same building or complex as the resident lessee’s unit, but only if the resident lessee (i) refers no more than 3 prospective lessees in any 12-month period, (ii) receives compensation of no more than $1,500 or the equivalent of one month’s rent, whichever is less, in any 12-month period, and (iii) limits his or her activities to referring prospective lessees to the owner, or the owner’s agent, and does not show a residential dwelling unit to a prospective lessee, discuss terms or conditions of leasing a dwelling unit with a prospective lessee, or otherwise participate in the negotiation of the leasing of a dwelling unit.
If you know someone who’s interested in living in your building, be sure to check whether it offers a resident referral fee and how you can qualify to receive it. It can be easy money.