ChicagoDowntown / Loop

Trulia rental scam watch and American Realty Pros

by Joe Zekas on 8/3/11

We recently wrote about Trulia’s doomed efforts to cut back on apartment rental scams in its listings.

The scams continue, as they always will wherever the slimy rental services we routinely refer to as bedbugs are allowed to have a presence. We have yet to find a rental service that operates its business in an honest fashion. We don’t allow rental services to advertise at YoChicago, and have even blocked their ability to run Google Ads on our site.

But back to Trulia. To its credit, Trulia did remove the ad we flagged as fraudulent in our recent post. In that post we suggested, as we frequently have before, that renters should never respond to an ad that doesn’t disclose an exact address. Perhaps in response to our caution the bedbugs have been running ads at Trulia that disclose an exact address. One problem: there are no rental buildings at the addresses listed.

One “Address Not Disclosed” ad caught our attention – one of many. It’s placed by American Realty Pros – a company that’s on our rental service do-not-call list – for a 1-bedroom in ZIP code 60654 renting for $1,462 a month. Quite a bargain, based on the ad content.

The ad description (“Indoor access to East Bank Club for member”) fits only one property in the area, Kingsbury Plaza, and the photos accompanying the ad are of Kingsbury Plaza. According to Kingsbury Plaza’s ad at Trulia, one-bedrooms start at $1,889 and range upward to $2,326. The lowest-priced apartment at Kingsbury Plaza, a studio, rents for $1,514. Convertible studios start at $1,680 a month.

You’ll find the same prices at Kingsbury Plaza’s Web site, where you’ll also learn that no one-bedroom apartments are currently available or scheduled to be available in the near future. American Realty Pros placed its lying ad at Trulia just 4 days ago.

Yelpers have expressed a low opinion of American Realty Pros.

If you’re looking to rent in downtown Chicago, Lincoln Park or Lake View, YoChicago has an easy way for you to avoid rental service rental fraud. You’ll find almost every rental option in those areas on our rental lists and maps, and useful tips about the neighborhoods in our rental Guides. Skip all online rental advertising and deal directly with a landlord. If you’re looking to rent a home or condo, search rentals at any reputable real estate broker site. You’re likely to save money as well as avoiding hassles.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

nwzimmer August 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Great work on keeping on this, Joe.

It’s amazing that these apartment locator operations can continue to defraud and scam so blatantly and openly. Not only that, but apparently some of the large rental properties cooperate with them.

Unfortunately, I guess it just underscores the incompetent local government. Where in some cases, local Chicago policy is actually too consumer friendly and business unfriendly, this is a case where a little consumer protection by simply enforcing the existing policies, as you’ve pointed out, would go a long way.

Reply

Betty April 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I will like to express my opinion.

First of all there is a reason why Agencies do not disclose the actual Address of the location. Do you think Agents Advertise for the hell of it? If agencies and agents are giving there actual office address and phone number then yes they are legit.

Agents Advertise to get leads. Without leads there is no renting for agents. If you say the best way is to contact a landlord directly. Then where to brokerage offices,brokers and leasing agents fall? Hell there will not be any real estate offices at all and for American Realty pros you can’t say they are not a legit company.I absolutely disagree with your blog. They are register with the state of Illinois.

As for prices. If you are not aware that management companies have specials every other month. Prices change all the time. Please get your info straight before stating that the company is not legit.

Reply

Joe Zekas April 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Betty,

I’m aware that prices change all the time – and that rental services often deliberately misstate them to get “leads” that they can bait-and-switch into other properties by lying about the one they advertised.

I’m also aware that agents advertise to get “leads” and that they typically violate state law by advertising properties that they don’t have authority to advertise.

People don’t want to be a “lead.” They want to find an apartment, not a broker.

I believe, as I’m confident most people do, that any company that routinely violates the law and spams sites with repetitive ads can’t be considered legitimate.

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