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I live in Chicago where I've been apartment hunting for the past 2 months. My wife and I finally found a place that suit our budget and needs for an apartment. Upon finding the place, we made several calls to the agency representing this place to ensure we had exactly what was need. The agent told us that we would need make 2.5 times the rent and an average credit score of 550 (between my wife and I). We easily passed this, so we decided to proceed with the application. Less than an hour later, we were denied because their screen company said I did have credit experience (which I do) and I didn't have rental history (which was never a requirements as they didn't even ask for rental history in the application). I reached out to the screening company who deflected me back to management and upon reaching out to management I was deflected back to the screening company. At this point, I no longer wish to do any sort of business with this particular company because: 1. the agents misrepresented the information for requirements 2. the supervisor I spoke to was rude and told me I could not call back to speak to a manager 3. the guy I was handed over to from the leasing department basically told me good luck on my hunt for apartment; after which he blocked my email from their system.

Am I entitled to an application refund due to the amount of discrepancies caused on their part and the false report by their screen company?

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According to this site:

  • Illinois law doesn’t set a limit on how much landlords can charge for application fees

  • The application fee is non-refundable

  • There’s no limit to the amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit

At least one other site for landlords supported this, but I cannot find any actual law or case law on application fees. Apparently the city of Chicago has an extensive set of local ordinances on landlord/tenant relations which almost completely replace the state rules, and are in a number of ways more restrictive (for example, the city limits late fees, which the state does not) but I could not find any ordinance dealing with the application process.

In short, I know of no law which would entitle a prospective tenant who is dissatisfied with the application process to obtain a return of the application fee. You may wish to consult a local lawyer. I am not a lawyer, in IL or anywhere else.

  • It might also be possible to sue in small claims court and let the judge figure the legalities out. Whether this is worth doing is left as an exercise to the reader. – David Thornley Dec 18 '18 at 16:01

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