Home is Where The Roaches Are

If you’re new to Chicago and are looking to rent an apartment, or even if you’re not new to Chicago and are looking to rent an apartment, whatever you do, don’t rent an ICM Properties apartment. If you’re currently living in an ICM Properties building and it’s working fine for you, then fab. I’m happy for you. If your brother/sister/mother/father/next-door-neighbor works for ICM and you resent what I’m about to say, well, that’s your prerogative. And I’m sorry for you.
When I first rented my completely rehabbed apartment three years ago, a small two-guy company owned the building. They were fantastic. Not only was my apartment the only rehabbed unit in the place, they kept the building in fabulous shape. They had someone on staff whose responsibility it was to make the entryways free of spider webs and dirt and they cleaned the carpets and they put up a list every couple of weeks in the laundry rooms that let the tenants sign up for FREE bug removal. Yeah. You could sign up on a Tuesday and your place would be sprayed for bugs the following week. Imagine that.
In short, our rental company sold the building to ICM Properties. Within the space of six months, we couldn’t leave our rent checks in the little box down in the laundry room, the washer and dryer beneath my portion of the building were removed, the washers and dryers in the other part of the building were removed with no possible notice or promise of new units, light bulbs in the hallways started going out and not getting replaced and, in general, the building started sucking.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen at least three roaches in my kitchen, which is REMARKABLY clean, about a ZILLION spiders living in every nook and cranny, including the little spot beneath my TV stand that I try to hit with the Swiffer every damn chance I get, maybe a BILLION spiders living in our entryway and around the stairs, and the occasional creepy-legged bug that defies definition scrambling across one of my newly painted walls. Yeah, I painted my walls without asking. Right after I saw the first roach in my kitchen and called about it and got, “Yeah, okay” as a response from the damn rental agency.
Oh, and forget about calling ICM with your problems. Forget about calling them with anything. Janssen Properties is actually the agency that owns our building, and it’s apparently run by two chicks who don’t like ME at all, but they’re just a part of ICM, and every time I call them, they make me feel like a flower girl on the streets of fucking Calcutta. “What? What NOW? Oh, you have roaches? Yeah. We’ll get someone right on that. Okay? Yeah, whatever. PEON.”
In other news, now that ICM has been in control, we’ve had a couple new additions to our little family. I’m primarily fond of the fucking idiots on the first floor who think that “boarding” out in the street on any given evening is perfectly okay. News flash: THEY’RE NOT TWELVE. “Boarding”, in general, is frowned upon when you get to be in your twenties and you SUCK AT IT. Seriously, they suck. Oh, and vomiting off their shared back deck on a Saturday is really, really cool. And leaving their disgusting rug hanging over the side of the deck for two months is perfectly fine. My point? ICM ain’t screenin’ the apartment people properly.
They’ve also never replaced the washer and dryer down in my portion of the building, so all 15 units have to share the two washers and two dryers in the basement of the other portion of the building. It’s not pretty on a Sunday, people. Hence, I do my laundry on a Friday night, and have become “That Woman Who Does Her Laundry On A Friday Night Isn’t That Sad And Aren’t We Sorry For Her?”
I may be a sad woman, but I’m even sadder now that I’m living in an ICM Building.

13 Comments so far

  1. (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 1:34 am

    Myself and an old girlfriend used to live in an ICM building- the basement was a hazard, and before we moved in there together- she had a mice infestation! Not to mention that our laundry was in the next door building, connected by a walk that was never shoveled- front or back(I repeatedly did it myself). It was a horrible building, and I was incredibly elated when we got a new place.
    In short, I feel your pain.

  2. Beerstoya (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 3:13 am

    Welp another story of shitty customer service from a SHIT ASS “family owned” corporation. I could only imagine how things would be if it were owned by a ‘global’ company. Here is the website addy for anyone wishing to email them and tell them how much they suck. info@icmproperties.com

  3. (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 3:35 am

    i feel your pain… i rented from them for 10 years because they allow dogs in their buildings. But the place was always a sh*thole.
    the last building had several building violations, including the dreaded illegally built back porch and one gas meter for the entire building that was unknowingly billed to one tenant (me). they suck, but they know they are slumlords and are living on the edge of several lawsuits. just stay on their ass and keep threatening them. i found it more stress reducing than yoga. misdirect any other anger you may have (ex: road rage, boyfriend woes, job angst) towards ICM. You will find yourself living a much healthier life and with enough threats they may actually do something about your slum. also, you should look for building violations. you can anonymously get the city out there and while the building inspector is there, brew yourself a cup of coffee and revel in his note taking. there are few things better.
    good luck!

  4. Marie (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 4:21 am

    Ugh! I really feel for you. I just looked up their web site and that’s my old neighborhood. I lived on Southport a long time ago. Now, I’m living downstate. You’re deserve to live in a clean roach-free place. Hell, you’re paying for it — you’re entitled and it’s their obligation to see to it. Don’t give up. Good luck.

  5. Erin Dailey (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 6:57 am

    Oh, wow. I honestly thought I was the only one with ICM issues. Man, am I glad I wrote this piece. I am SO getting the city out to our building, like, tomorrow. Dayum.
    Thanks for the backup, dudes.

  6. (unregistered) on September 10th, 2004 @ 3:35 am

    I broke my lease with ICM because they shut off the heat to the entire unit for a week and refused to turn it back on. I had a gas leak, and they wouldn’t fix it, they wouldn’t replace burnt-out light bulbs in dark stairwells, they wouldn’t salt the icey sidewalks, and the building engineer was mean to me – he actually swore at me and yelled at me for having him come into my apt and fix what was broken.
    ICM is evil. I don’t understand how they are allowed to continue as a business… I mean, the laws in place say that you can break your lease if the apt isn’t kept up to code, but if a company is just evil all around, shouldn’t they be under investigation?

  7. Matt (unregistered) on March 7th, 2005 @ 1:10 pm

    I hate ICM and I don’t hate anybody or anything. They are the worst. I have about ten stories but to make my point I will tell you that they don’t return any calls from the maintenance line nor do they pretend to. I had to actually go into their office and ask them why they haven’t returned my calls. The guy told me “We don’t return calls, we just fix the problem.” Of course they had never fixed any problems I had called about including the laundry room, icy back steps, or the disgusting hallways. How can you run a business and not call people back. What else are you doing over there if you aren’t handling people’s needs? What a joke. I also had to call Martha, who handles parking, five times. She never returned one of my calls. I finally asked to speak to someone else and then as I was complaining about her, I could hear her talking in the background. She then got on the phone to yell at me. I asked her why it was so hard to return a phone call. She said she didn’t get the message. What are we ten years old? Voice mailboxes don’t erase five messages on their own. Just typical ICM crap. Their website even has spelling mistakes which makes me smile. The point of the story is that I hate ICM and I am going to make sure no one I know rents from them ever again. And I’m out.

  8. Carrie Gilson (unregistered) on May 19th, 2005 @ 9:42 am

    I feel your pain! I wish I had read your posts and the subsequent comments before I (and my boyfriend) signed a lease w/ ICM starting May 2005! It’s been a nightmare already!

    I walked into the apartment on moving day and discovered HORRIBLE water damage that had been blocked from sight when we toured the apartment. I immediately made a list of imperative improvements/repairs and asked that they be made w/in 16 days. I also listed all building code violations.

    And now ICM HATES me. I cannot even get them to return my calls! Yesterday one of the ICM reps came to the apartment to see the crappy paint/patch job that was done by the painters they hired. (He only came b/c my father AND boyfriend called him.)

    He YELLED at me and informed me that “of all the people he has rented to this summer, we have asked for the most.” SO WHAT?!

    He then accused me of being some kind of apartment trouble-maker … he said, “You’ve obviously done this before. You expect me to believe you just stumbled upon a list of possible building code violations?!” Um, yes! Where do they find their employees?!

    Here’s the kicker – when the painters left the other day, they locked a lock on the front door for which we were never given a key. When boyfriend an I arrived home at 11:30 PM that nite, we were locked out. We called ICM and they told us to call a locksmith and they would reimburse us. So, two hours and $140 later we finally got into the apartment.

    ICM says we have to send them a receipt and then they will EVENTUALLY reimburse us. They warned us NOT to deduct the money from our June rent. Yeah right, there’s no way I’m waiting around for them to send us a check.

    Has anyone filed a Better Business Bureau report on them? I also get the feeling they are dealing w/ several potential law suits. Our ICM rep told us they got rid of security deposits (now they just require a $250 non-refundable fee) b/c of too many lawsuits. He said they were getting people who just wanted to sue them for everything. Gee, I wonder why ….

  9. Anon E. Mouse (unregistered) on June 13th, 2005 @ 2:56 pm

    I’m rather happy to find this blog, even though the last post was in 2004. I have been an ICM tenant for more than 3 years, and have consistently asked myself why.

    The main reason I stayed when moving to a new apartment in the city was because they reduced the security deposit to $299 instead of 1 1/2 months rent. I am still with them, in the first few months of a renewed lease that I am soon hoping to break because of their moronic approach to being landlords. If a city inspector were to see the basement in our building, it would probably be borderline condemnable. There are various problems with my unit which are municipal code violations (it helps to work at a law firm, by the way), all of which I have told ICM about and am now waiting out a 14 day period before withholding rent and/or breaking my lease.

    Every time you call one of those people there, they act like you are scum and I’m sure their only concern is “How fast can we get a new tenant into one of our hell-holes?” How can a landlord act like this towards people who give them money every month and expect them to carry out required services?

    I really hope that some more people post to this blog that are current tenants of ICM. I’m curious how many other people are in similiar situations and living in some of the worst apartments in the city short of moving into Cabrini Green.

  10. anonymous (unregistered) on September 6th, 2005 @ 7:12 pm

    Here here! I was referred by another blogger when I came across his complaint against ICM. Aside from problems ranging from no functioning stove when I moved in and hot water that was out for a week (calling the city fixed that one right up! whoopee!) I finally had to call a lawyer when they THREW OUT MY REMAINING BELONGINGS TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO MY MOVEOUT DATE. Apparently the building manager thought I had moved out early. Despite having paid the rent through the end of the month! Highly illegal!
    I’m still waiting compensation, but if they don’t respond to my threatening letter, I will light a legal fire under their asses. Thank you to the Chicago Lawyer’s Committe for Better Housing for all of their assistance in fighting ICM.

  11. Kathleen Moritz (unregistered) on December 1st, 2005 @ 6:36 am

    My son along with his 2 close friends died in a fire on June 7, 2005. Students who rented an apartment in the Lakeview area from ICM properties. ICM properties did not provide smoke detectors as required by law.
    I have paid the ultimate price for the neglegence of this company.

  12. Aaron (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 7:48 pm

    Wow – all this negative stuff about ICM just floors me! I’ve been living in an ICM apartment for like 4 years and have had a great experience with these guys.

    When I first moved in I had some issues with them – because the last tenant really left the place a mess but they were pretty prompt getting my list of problems fixed – they painted and fixed the toilet and like 5 other things. For me at least – they have always responded promptly. When my fridge broke I had a new one in about 4 days.

    For the record I have recommended about 10 friends to ICM as well and except for a mix up about pets being allowed in one building they have all been happy with their apartments.

    Here’s hoping there are more stories like mine out there.

  13. Tonya (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 10:50 am

    I have lived in an ICM Property for only a year. I am not renewing my lease! This is the WORST property management company I have ever encountered. When I moved in, I contacted them about many things that needed to be fixed. Workmen were sent in to take measurements and review issues. One even stated that the apartment wasn’t structurally sound. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. However, later I found that I could hear “crumbling” noises through the walls, periodically, and I don’t think it’s mice. Anyway, those workmen were for show. Nothing was ever fixed! I called and basically no one returned my call or I was put on hold for so long that I hung up. In the winter there was a sheet of ice on the back stairs about 3 inches thick – my neighbor scraped it off each time it formed, because he knew ICM wouldn’t do it. During the summer the grass was either hardly cut or it wasn’t watered. So you kind of felt like the building was in the wilderness or the desert, depending on what wasn’t being done. ICM has not been good with the property upkeep. It’s a shame, because my building is in a great neighborhood with victorian homes. Without upkeep, the building is nearly an eyesore on the street. By the way, don’t be fooled by the low move-in deposit. Chances are the rent is high enough to make up for it throughout the year. I could go on and on about heating problems, pipe problems, etc., just do yourself a favor and rent from someone else.

    I saw this website before signing my lease and paid it no mind – I’ve regretted it ever since.

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