Feb 7, 2020
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Brokers’ Fees Fallout: Renters Are Jubilant, but Agents Are Reeling

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Still, the organization has recommended that its members abide by the new guidance.

Since brokers would still be able to collect fees from landlords, experts said landlords would in many cases probably pass on those costs to tenants by increasing the monthly rent.

Tenants would avoid paying a large, one-time broker’s fee, but, over time, they could end up paying more: Instead of just paying when they move in, tenants could face paying a higher rent with the broker’s fee baked in even after a tenant renews a lease.

But though owners of market-rate units might be able to pass on the cost to tenants, landlords of the city’s nearly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments would not. Those rents are strictly regulated by the government.

The real estate industry warned that many brokers could lose their jobs or stand to make less money.

Jed Wilder, a real estate broker at Compass, said that when brokers collect fees from a landlord, not the tenant — an atypical arrangement in New York — the fees are usually no more than one month’s rent. Tenants typically pay more, between 10 and 15 percent of the annual rent.

Sarah Saltzberg, a broker who runs Bohemia Realty, a brokerage firm based in Harlem, said the public has a misconception about brokers.

Her rental agents, she said, typically make $45,000 to $60,000 a year.

“These are hard-working New Yorkers that are quite frankly able to stay in this city because they have this job,” she said. “The agents are out there, pounding the pavement, going up and down stairs, looking at apartments that may not have been treated for bed bugs, doing some really hard work.”

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