One of our main goals at RentConfident is to protect renters from falling victim to these costly and illegal practices. We'll consider it "mission accomplished" when every renter knows to verify the landlord before sending personal data or money. Until then, we recognize that people will get scammed and need to recover.
One such scam victim was referred to me by a a friend of mine recently. The fellow in question (who we'll keep nameless here) applied for an apartment that he'd seen in person. The application had all the hallmarks of an official document. Everything seemed to be proper, so he provided a money order for the security deposit and credit check.
The victim believes that the people who showed him the apartment had found a staged, empty apartment to use as bait and broken into it before the "showing." They took his money and his data and he never heard from them again.
He contacted me looking for a how to on recovering from such an event. Below is the advice I provided, edited for blog use. Please bear in mind that this is not legal advice. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a former apartment and real estate agent that specializes in apartment research. Continue reading What to do if you’re the victim of a rental scam in Chicago
We need to have a talk about laundry room etiquette. Well, it's more like you need to listen to me talk and then immediately start following my instructions.
As we all know, in our building basement there are four washers and four dryers. Rarely are all eight machines operational at once. The washer takes roughly 30 minutes to complete its cycle. The dryer takes roughly 50. Let's use those numbers and times as guidelines for behavior. Continue reading An Open Letter to Shared Laundry Room Users
Last month, Cecil the lion was hunted down and killed in Zimbabwe by a dentist from Minnesota. Angry nature lovers then hunted down the dentist's business and attempted to kill it with a combination of protests and vicious reviews.
The media coverage making it seem like Dr. Walter Palmer's act of violence was extreme, but the hatred demonstrated by the public towards his place of business was exciting but expected. (Example 1) (Example 2)
Based on figures estimated by the ADA (link), this two-dentist office lost about $64,644 over the approximately 17 days that it was closed. (It has since reopened.) That's just shy of a full year's income for an full time dental hygienist.
Why do we value small businesses?
Small businesses are valued because they are theoretically responsive to the influence of the customers - of course, that responsiveness is directly related to their distinct vulnerability to changes in public opinion. You don't expect Comcast to change because you are displeased with their work. You do expect Uncle Joe's House of Ribs to step up the service if your potatoes arrive at the table cold.
Continue reading Small Business Safari: Vigilante Justice in the Digital Age.
Many years ago when I worked in property management, one of my biggest headaches was responding to tenants' complaints about their neighbors.
I'd answer the phone and on the other end would be an angry, often sleep-deprived person. Often they would yell. Sometimes they would speak in a firm tone. Occasionally they would cry.
I'd do my best to put myself their position -- after years of hearing the same complaints, it was easy to become desensitized. To resolve the call, I would promise to send the offending neighbor a letter instructing them to cease the pattern of disturbance immediately.
A few days later, I'd get a call from person who received the letter. Invariably, this person would deny knowing anything about any disturbances and demand to know who complained. I would explain that in the interest of not starting a blood feud, the most specific term I could use was “a neighbor.” Continue reading Don’t love thy neighbor? 20 head-scratching neighbor complaints as told to a former property manager
You are six years old. Your parents take you to a local Italian restaurant with a kids' menu. You love their macaroni and cheese. It's basic and bland and to your little kid taste buds it's delicious. You go back every couple of months and you get the same thing every time.
One day your mom goes on a health food kick. You return to the restaurant and your mother looks over the menu with her newly opened eyes. The kids' menu is full of junk! Too high in carbs. Too high in fat. You won't be eating any of that anymore! The only dish that she sees fit to feed you is the organic fagioli primavera risotto from the adults' menu.
"I'm sorry," says the waiter, "but your son is too young for that sort of dish. Most kids can't handle the strong flavors and textures. We advise young children to order from the kids menu. That way everyone can have a good time and a good meal."
Your mother isn't going to stand for that. "That's discrimination!" she shouts. "You can't keep someone from ordering a dish just because of their age! You'll be hearing from my lawyers!" She bundles you up and takes you home.
Continue reading Lawsuits in an Italian restaurant