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Vesta Preferred, where raw rental rookies rate rave reviews

Yelp screen cap

Vesta Preferred bills itself in Craigslist recruiting ads as the “Highest rated Real Estate Company on Yelp.” That statement simply isn’t true, as you can easily determine from a brief scan of the Chicago rental services reviewed on Yelp. Early last year we wondered whether the company’s reviews reflected actual consumer experiences or resulted from ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 24, 2014

High-rise spider talk starts early this year

Hancock aerial

Dan Goodwin, a/k/a SpiderDan, perched high on the John Hancock building’s façade only once, but spiders of another species do it annually. If you haven’t lived in a Chicago high-rise you might be unaware of the annual spider migration that annoys some residents, frightens others and amuses many who dwell closer to the ground. Various ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 22, 2014

Is Flats Chicago practicing review fraud?

Thumbnail image for Is Flats Chicago practicing review fraud?

YoChicago has zero tolerance for the comment fraud and review fraud that some inept landlords and rental services seem to find attractive. Our Privacy policy provides that you expressly waive its protections if you engage in deceit on behalf of a business in our comments. On April 14 a commenter with the screen name of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 21, 2014

Do smoke-free apartment buildings outnumber unicorns?

River North

Yesterday’s email included the following from a resident of a River North high-rise with a smoke-free policy: I have had smokers on my floor for some time now – since last summer. The building I live in is ‘smoke free.’ I have notified the front office staff numerous times over the last 9 months about ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 18, 2014

Is Quantum Apartments vandalizing your neighborhood?

Quantum Apartments

Can there really be a business brain-dead enough to document acts of vandalism on its behalf on YouTube? There apparently can, and its name is Quantum Apartments. Last week we saw one of Quantum’s signs tacked to a utility pole in Roscoe Village. A search for information about the company quickly surfaced a number of ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 15, 2014

domu is a must-visit site for Chicago’s small landlords

Schorsch Village

Small to medium-sized Chicago landlords should check in periodically at domu’s blog and Advice for landlords page. The site is an excellent source of information about legal trends and practical issues. Recent landlord-oriented posts at domu’s blog have focused on Illinois Appellate Court decisions, security deposit trends and tenant screening options. domu is also a ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 15, 2014

Know your rights when your apartment is being shown

Kardas Photography

Some Chicago landlords would like tenants to believe that a clause in the lease they signed waives or limits their right to 2 days’ advance notice before their apartment is shown to prospective renters. Any such provision in a lease is in violation of the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO) and is unenforceable. Landlords ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 11, 2014

State Street Properties’ amazing Craigslist apartment spam

State Street Properties

With just over 2,500 ads, State Street Properties isn’t Craigslist’s most prolific apartment ad spammer, but it ranks among the worst of them and shares some verbal tics with the typical Craigslist rental spammers. Landlords and management companies don’t typically resort to superlatives to describe their apartments. If you see an “amazing” or “awesome” or ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014
ChicagoFar North

A report from another discontented resident at Flats No. 5411

5411 Winthrop

Less than two weeks ago we were shown around Flats Chicago’s 5411 N Winthrop by a dissatisfied resident. Yesterday another disgruntled resident at Flats Chicago’s 5411 N Winthrop reached out by email to share the following experiences, which I’ve rephrased slightly without changing the substance: Torrential downpours in my bathroom (no exaggeration – multiple points ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014

Do convicted criminals have keys to your apartment?

Bryan Duffy

A history of criminal convictions, even for felony offenses, isn’t enough to bar someone from getting a real estate license in Illinois. We’ve written a number of times about individual real estate agents with criminal histories, some of them repeat offenders. In order to facilitate showings a number of landlords make apartment keys readily available ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 10, 2014

Where have all the iMove agents gone, short time passing?

iMove Chicago

We’ve written repeatedly about iMove Chicago, a rental service that advertises frequently on Craigslist for new leasing agents and brokers. We had saved records of the names of 41 agents and brokers (other than Erickson Ocasio and Rusty Payton, the principals) who were employed at iMove Chicago between January 2012 and January 19, 2013: Andrew ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 9, 2014
ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Does Chicagoland Property Group’s Collin Walker deliberately lie on Craigslist?

1225 screen cap

After having looked at many of Collin Walker’s repetitive ads at Craigslist, my considered opinion is that his ads often contain deliberate lies. We posted on what we deemed a Walker lie yesterday, and here’s another … Walker had seven ads active on Craigslist yesterday for “beautiful new” and “beautifully updated” Lincoln Park and Old ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 8, 2014
ChicagoNorth Side

Design Planned Property’s new t-shirt and win $500

T-shirt flyer

Have you ever wanted to see one of your designs on a t-shirt? Here’s your chance! Summer is coming and we need a cool new t-shirt! The winning design will be made into a t-shirt and the first place winner will receive $500 (rent credit, check or Amex Gift Cards). Second and third place winners ...

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Posted by sponsored post on April 8, 2014

An update on Chicagoland Property Group’s spam-family Walker

SoNo East Walker Craigslist

In the coming months we’ll be continuing our efforts to make it easier for you to identify and avoid some of Craiglist’s worst apartment ad spammers. We’ll call them out by company and individual names and build a reference list. On Monday we questioned whether the more than 4,500 ads placed by Chicagoland Property Group ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2014

Zillow is blocking Chicago rental service IP addresses

A gargoyle

Property owners pay commissions to rental services for bringing them prospects. If a major property owner has difficulty getting a rental service to honor the Illinois Real Estate License Act’s prohibition against advertising without written permission, what chance do you as a renter have of getting fair treatment from that rental service? I received the ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 4, 2014

Chicagoland Property Group makes Craigslist spam a family affair

Apartments dot com screen cap

We recently spotlighted Chicagoland Property Group’s Collin Walker as one of Craigslist’s worst apartment ad spammers. We also added a business listing for the company at Yelp, knowing we’d be amused by the glowing reviews that we suspected would promptly appear, and did. Were the reviews solicited, in violation of Yelp’s Content Guidelines? Do they ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 3, 2014

Rental services joining Chicago Rental Apartment Partners

Dublin airport

Dozens of Chicago’s apartment rental services have joined the newly-formed Chicago Rental Apartment Partners, an organization dedicated to raising ethical standards in a notoriously sleazy industry. “Industry leaders are rushing to join CRAP,” according to a spokesperson for the group. “They’ve been sickened by their own behavior and had a come-to-Jesus moment.” CRAP members subscribe ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on April 1, 2014

Is Chicagoland Property Group Craigslist’s worst apartment spammer?

Chicagoan screen cap

Craigslist doesn’t allow ads to be posted more than once every 48 hours and prohibits keyword spam, i.e. the use of irrelevant terms in ads to draw attention to them. Over-posted ads stuffed with irrelevant keywords are spam. We haven’t completed our research, so we don’t know whether Chicagoland Property Group is Craigslist’s most prolific ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 31, 2014

Chicago real estate video shootout – YoChicago vs Crain’s and Chicago Magazine

YouTube

YoChicago’s YouTube channel has taken you to more Chicago places and inside more Chicago spaces and introduced you to more of the faces that shape Chicago real estate than any other source. We think we’re the clear leader in Chicago real estate video, and YouTube’s metrics strongly support that claim. Chicago Magazine and Crain’s Chicago ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 28, 2014

Is this rental service agent running a charity scam?

Covenant Veterans Home

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. ...

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Posted by Joe Zekas on March 28, 2014