500 Lake Shore Drive bans Craigslist rental service ads

500 Lake Shore Drive sent the following email to rental services / apartment locators / apartment finders last Saturday morning:

Subject: Craigslist Postings at 500 Lake Shore Drive

Good Afternoon,

As you all know, we have recently switched over to the LRO pricing model. With this pricing model, pricing fluctuates daily based on several factors including supply and demand, view, floor height, seasonality, etc.

Since switching to LRO, we have had an increased number of inquiries from prospects that reference ads with incorrect pricing and terms on Craigslist. After monitoring Craigslist on a weekly basis, we have noticed that a very large percentage of ads posted display incorrect pricing, terms, concessions, photos, etc.

Due to these issues, we will have to ask all brokers to remove their ads for 500 Lake Shore Drive from Craigslist and to no longer post on the site for our building. With LRO, It is simply too difficult to update ads with correct pricing on a daily basis and remove them as we rent units so quickly.

You are still welcome to post information on your own company websites, but Craigslist postings will no longer be allowed.

We value our relationship with each of you and look forward to working with you as we enter the busy spring leasing season!

Best,

The standard brokerage agreement for 500 Lake Shore Drive already banned rental service brokers from advertising on Craigslist:

Broker may only advertise the Property on its own website. Broker and its licensees shall not advertise the Property on Craigslist or on any other ILS or in any Multiple Listing Service or offer any compensation to any other broker or licensee. Broker and its licensees shall only use photography available at www.related.com to advertise the Property on Broker’s website.

Some rental services may have previously been granted a waiver of this requirement by 500 LSD.

As of late yesterday there appeared to be more than 100 rental service ads for 500 LSD still active on Craigslist.

My first reaction to the email was to wonder what prompted 500 LSD to complain about a pattern that it has to have known has existed since before the building opened: “a very large percentage of ads posted display incorrect pricing, terms, concessions, photos, etc.”

My second reaction was to wonder whether 500 LSD will effectively enforce a policy that rental services have previously ignored and are likely to continue ignoring. Effective enforcement would involve terminating business relationships and filing complaints with state licensing authorities. In the absence of effective enforcement the rental services will show 500 LSD’s policy the same respect the dog in the above photo is showing the plantings in the park just west of 500 LSD.

In recent years Chicago landlords have allowed the rental services to engage in a massive amount of abusive, bait-and-switch and fraudulent advertising and other shabby and illegal tactics.

A crackdown is long overdue. I’m hopeful that 500 LSD is serious about and succeeds at banning unauthorized ads at Craigslist and the other websites that have been completely trashed by the rental services. I’m also hopeful that other properties will begin enforcing their policy against advertising on Craigslist and other sites.

Update: As of Monday morning the rental services are running new ads for 500 LSD and updating older ones on Craigslist. Price, availability and terms in the ads vary from what’s available on the building’s website. If you want accurate info and don’t want to be baited and switched, deal directly with the building.

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