A tipster emailed us last week, suggesting that ?something smells fishy ? over at Chicago Apartment Hunters? (CAH).
At its website CAH bills itself as ?Chicago?s premier locating service.? Well, you?ll need to look at many rental service websites before you?ll find an apartment locator that isn?t number one or the largest or the leading or the most professional or the most knowledgeable or the premier instance of its kind. In a universe of equals, the best are also the worst.
Reading on, CAH ?prides itself on staffing the most knowledgeable and professional leasing agents in Chicago.?
CAH?s managing broker?s real estate license is in Inoperative status and there?s no indication that the person who lists himself as the company?s owner has ever held a real estate license. No other agents are named on the site.
CAH?s real estate brokerage license expired last October and was not renewed. The corporation has been dissolved.
Rather than a fishy smell, I detect the scent of a rotted corpse ? a zombie brokerage. CAH is dead with regard to its ability to do business legally, but lives on at its website and phone number, and in hundreds of ads offering units for rent at Zillow.
In addition to zombie brokerages, I?m seeing a number of new, unlicensed rental services advertising on Craigslist and at other rental venues. Major landlords will not allow unlicensed companies to show their apartments, even though the companies are advertising them. Responding to an ad from one of these companies is a virtual guarantee of being played for a sucker. In my opinion, responding to an ad from any of Chicago?s predatory rental services puts you at high risk of becoming their victim.
- A Chicago rental service predator is still preying
- Rental service pirates invading the suburbs
- On Zillow, Trulia and hotpads, almost every rental service ad is illegal
- Rat out a Chicago rental service to the IRS and make big bucks
- Zillow purges illegal Chicago rental service ads