On February 14 the Illinois Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board voted to impose a $100,000 fine on James Tarr and Exchange Apartment Finders. According to the minutes of the Board’s meeting (PDF), Tarr’s known aliases include Jim Tarr, William S. Tarr, John Deals, J.T. Tarr, Jim Jarr, William James Tarr, Jay Tarr, Bob Smirt and John Rainey. The matter was referred to the Attorney General’s office for further action.
Tarr has been disciplined twice before, and the current disciplinary proceeding was initiated in 2011.
Yesterday a comment on one of our earlier posts on Exchange Apartment Finders indicated that the company, which is also known as The Exchange, is still doing business without a license and still operating in a predatory fashion.
The ExchangeApartmentFinders.com URL surfaces a website for Apartment Locators – which is not a licensed broker. There are still ads at Craigslist with the company’s phone number.
Every renter needs to understand and take seriously the fact that almost all Chicago rental services a/k/a apartment finders a/k/a apartment locators routinely engage in illegal behavior and operate in a predatory fashion. State and local law enforcement authorities have limited resources, and have a long history of being completely ineffective at policing the rental service industry.
It isn’t difficult to find an apartment in Chicago, but it is difficult to avoid being taken advantage of by a rental service if you choose to work with one. The only sure way to protect yourself against rental service predators is to avoid working with them.