Will Illinois ever crack down on unlicensed rental agents?

Chicago renters and landlords have been plagued for years by a rental services industry that operates as if there were no law enforcement in Illinois. Consumers have been howling about rental services’ tactics at Yelp and other venues for years, to little effect. It’s a subject we’ve repeatedly covered at YoChicago, and we’ve published a periodically updated rental services do-not-call list.

Unlicensed agents frequently document their transgressions online in the bios on their company websites, and in their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. They leave enough of a trail that it would be easy for the State to put them out of business – and perhaps put a few in jail to send a message to the rest. How difficult can it be to cross-match payroll / check records against licensing dates?

Consider, for example, the case of one Anthony Zammitt. His LinkedIn profile (partial screen cap above) describes him as a “Real estate broker” and both a buyer’s and seller’s agent. He’s not licensed by the State of Illinois as a real estate broker, and he’s legally barred from representing buyers or sellers.

Zammitt’s LinkedIn profile says he started with American Realty Pros in July of last year. He was issued a Leasing Agent license on January 18th of this year – well beyond the 120-day permit period allowed by law. A licensed Leasing Agent is not legally able to represent buyers or sellers in a real estate transaction, or to hold himself out as doing so.

TIP: The easy way to avoid unlicensed agents, and all of the risks associated with those agents, is to work with a major brokerage firm. Established brokerage firms (a number are advertising clients of ours) don’t tolerate the practices that are common in the rental services industry.

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