All of the data in a RentConfident report is pulled from outside sources by our researchers. Our Confidence Factor score and Star Ratings are calculated automatically by the research engine based on the data we are able to obtain.

We include a list of our sources for several reasons.

  • Correcting Errors. If a landlord or property manager finds information in our reports to be incorrect, we want them to have easy access to the original outside sources so that they may contact them directly for resolution.
  • Improving the Data. We believe a landlord is innocent until proven guilty by a government authority. We do not include hearsay or subjective opinions in our scoring, although we do provide links to review websites when we are able to find them. We can only report on something if it is on file with one of our sources. By including our sources we hope it becomes easier and more rewarding for renters to report problems to the proper authorities.
  • Following Up. Issues we find and present to renters during our reports are part of an ongoing story. Damaged buildings may get repaired. Court cases get settled. Curious renters are encouraged to follow up on matters that pertain to their homes.
  • Encouraging DIY Research. The primary RentConfident mission is to create informed renters. In the best of all worlds, renters would learn how to perform this research on their own.

RentConfident relies primarily on open government data to perform our reports, falling back to commercial sources only when no efficient government source is available. All sources used to create our reports are included in the list below. Please note that our smaller "Initial" report uses a smaller subset of the resources listed here.

Federal Sources

American Community Survey (Census.gov)
PACER

State of Illinois Sources

Illinois Secretary of State Business License Search

Cook County Sources

Cook County Assessor
Cook County Clerk of Court
Cook County Property Info
Cook County Recorder of Deeds

Commercial Sources

Better Business Bureau
Business Profiles
Google Geocoding API
Intelius
LinkedIn
Realtor.com
Rentometer
Smarty Streets
Yelp

"Most Wanted" Lists

ATF Most Wanted
Cook County Sheriff Warrants
DEA Most Wanted
EPA Fugitives
FBI Most Wanted
ICE (Immigration) Most Wanted
Illinois Sex Offense Registry
Interpol Wanted
Secret Service Most Wanted
US Marshals Wanted

City of Chicago Sources

Building Permits*
Building Violations*
Business Licenses*
Census Tract Boundaries*
Central Business District Boundaries*
Chicago 311 (via FOIA)
Chicago Building Data Warehouse
Chicago Building-Related Court Actions
Chicago Police CLEARmap
Chicago Street Names*
City Boundaries*
Community Area Boundaries*
Crimes 2001 - present*
CTA Bus Stops*
CTA Rail Lines*
CTA Rail Stations*
Divvy Bicycle Stations*
Elementary School Attendance Boundaries*
Elementary School Progress Report*
High School Attendance Boundaries*
High School Progress Report*
Hospital Locations*
Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting Codes*
Landmark Districts*
Life Safety Evaluations*
Major Streets*
Metra Stations*
National Register of Historic Places*
Neighborhood Boundaries*
Parking Permit Zones*
Police Beat Boundaries*
Private Schools*
Public Schools*
Snow Route Parking Restrictions*
State Congressional Districts (House)*
State Congressional Districts (Senate)*
Street Center Lines*
US Congressional District Boundaries*
Ward Boundaries*
Winter Overnight Parking Restrictions*
Zip Code Boundaries*
Zoning District Boundaries*

* indicates a database in the Chicago Data Portal

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