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Deals & Dealmakers

Residential agents take to social media in effort to keep their pay checks

Residential real estate agents throughout New York City are pushing back against a proposed City Council bill that would have a significant negative impact on New York City renters and the residential real estate market.

By preventing residential real estate agents from “collecting fees from prospective tenants that are above the value of one month’s rent,” they say Intro 1423 would punish hardworking middle-class New Yorkers who work to help other New Yorkers find and rent their homes.

Since the legislation was proposed, real estate agents have voiced their concerns about the bill and are calling on City Council members to listen to their stories.

“As a single mom, these commissions are my livelihood,” said real estate agent Ellen Cohen, a resident of the Upper West Side represented by Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“We work tremendously hard to protect our customers and our clients. Rental opportunities take time, a lot of legwork, and large quantities of paperwork. We take the time to study neighborhoods, customers’ needs and to identify situations that work best.”

Cohen is among hundreds of city agents who are taking part in a social media campaign backed by the Real Estate Board of New York to educate the general public on how much the proposal could hurt them.

“This city council bill would threaten my family’s livelihood,” said actor and real estate agent Michael Bakkensen, resident of Washington Heights represented Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“I am a professional actor who has also had many odd jobs to support myself for over two decades in the city. After the birth of my daughter four years ago I needed a job with flexibility that would not take me far from my family.”

“We have to provide for our family just like everyone else,” said real estate agent Candice Mohammed of Richmond Hill, at the crossroads of Queens represented by Council Members Adrienne Adams, Karen Koslowitz, and Eric Ulrich. “To put a limit to what we make is not the way to go.”

“Being new to the industry (since October) I see how tough it is being an agent,” Candice Mohammed continued. “I’ve met countless people who live in Manhattan and still don’t understand the steps required to obtain a rental. That’s where we come in.”

“Intro 1423 would cause significant financial hardship to thousands of agents like myself,” said real estate agent Rodrigo Guerreiro De Faria, resident of the Upper West Side represented by Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“For the last three years, I have worked nearly 24/7 as we are always on call. Working on commission is very stressful, and I went months without any income.  I can easily say that if it wasn’t for my wife’s financial support, I could not be doing this job.”

REBNY is encouraging members and community members to contact their local council member (council.nyc.gov/districts) to express their concerns about Intro 1423.

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