When listing a property for rent on Craigslist, is it legal to request a higher rent from prospects represented by an agent (to net same rent price)?

Asked by Chris Michaelson, Chicago, IL Sun Apr 17, 2011

For example, if commission to the agent/broker would be $1,200, is it acceptable to request $100 additional per month from the represented tenant so that the net monthly rent price to the landlord is the same regardless if the prospective tenant is represented or unrepresented. Is this form of price discrimination legal?

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Chris Michae…, , Chicago, IL
Sun Apr 24, 2011
Thanks for the thoughts on this. I am a licensed broker in Illinois and am renting a house that I own. In the Chicago area, the landlord typically compensates the listing agent a full month's rent, which is then split with the tenant's agent. In my case, if I listed it on the MLS I only need to pay the 1/2 month commission to the tenant's agent. Currently the house is only listed on Craigslist and it getting good interest at the higher price. Luckily, with today's tight rental market, bewteen the MLS and Craigslist there's only one other 3BD+ house in town competing with mine!
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Laura Feghali, Agent, Stamford, CT
Sun Apr 17, 2011
Hello Chris,
I do not think that it's illegal to charge more to prospective tenants that use an agent's services but would they be willing to pay more in monthly rent than another possible tenant who is not represented? Would the landlord disclose the difference in monthly rent to the prospective tenant? Maybe the represented tenant may just wish to pay the commission to his agent and pay a lesser amount for rent.
The landlord may end up over pricing the rental unit if he adds on the additional monthly fee which may increase the market time on getting the unit rented particularly if there are others in the neighborhood available. It may be best just to say that a tenant represented by an agent must pay the fee for his agent's services.
Just food for thought.

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
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Anthony Cava…, Agent, Jolier, IL
Sun Apr 17, 2011
Short answer: yes. The owner can charge whatever he wants and offer whatever commission he agrees to with his listing agent. But this would only work if the property is listed as exclusive agency rather than exclusive right to lease. Otherwise, what would be the point?
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