Chicago’s rental services often claim that they can negotiate a better deal on an apartment’s rent or fees than renters can on their own. Hearing that, you should be scratching your head and wondering why a property owner would pay a month’s rent or more in commission to a rental service and give a better deal to the renter it brings to the property.
The simple fact is that most property management companies require rental services to agree to terms similar to the following, which is quoted from a large-company’s agreement with local rental services.
Broker will not accept any moneys i.e. security deposit, rent, etc. on behalf of the Owner, nor negotiate any terms of a lease with a prospective tenant.
Broker and its licensees shall not attempt to negotiate rental rates or fees on behalf of their clients. The Owner’s agent shall inform Broker and their client/prospective tenant on rental rates, concessions, if any available, and other relevant information.
The broker who tells you he can negotiate a better deal knows that he can’t, and has agreed that he won’t even attempt to negotiate.
That said, rents on individual condo units are often negotiable and individual small landlords may negotiate rents. Most of the rental services won’t show you condo units because they have to split the rental commission with the agent who listed the unit for rent. Many of the rental services also have no contact with small landlords.