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REBNY Watch Views

Rental agents should seize their opportunity to be heard

On Tuesday, June 11 at 10am at City Hall, we have a one-time only opportunity to tell our City Council not to pass legislation that would cap certain rental broker fees.

Last week, a new version of the legislation was unveiled, and we remain concerned with the updated bill language. The proposal would continue to punish hardworking middle-class New Yorkers and have the unintended consequence of raising monthly rents in New York City. The result will be to harm the very same people the bill intends to help.

The amended bill now focuses exclusively on agents who represent property owners. For transactions where a broker or agent represents a property owner, the broker or agent is permitted to only collect at most one month’s rent as commission from the tenant. If the agent is a tenant’s representative, they can continue to collect whatever the market would bear. Clearly this legislation is still an overreach and is a first step to other commissions potentially being regulated by the City Council.

We strongly urge our members to attend the hearing at City Hall and make their concerns known. A large turnout at the hearing will send a clear and powerful message to our elected leaders. If you visit rebny.com you can find out how to sign a petition, contact your local Council Member, send a letter, and engage through social media on the ramifications that this bill would have for agents, property owners, and renters.

I want to thank all the REBNY members who have already taken to social media with compelling stories of how rental agents earn a living in New York City. “As a single mom, these commissions are my livelihood,” said real estate agent Ellen Cohen of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“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.”

Consumers are free to decide if they want to seek out an apartment with a fee attached or to continue searching for one with no fee. Property owners and renters know that engaging a broker saves time, effort, and money. That is why so many listings involve an agent when New Yorkers look for their new home. We cannot underestimate the impact of the meaningful personal stories shared by Cohen and her colleagues and the educational value they hold for policy makers and the public.
Now let’s make sure they see and hear us in person on June 11 at City Hall.

In Other REBNY News:
On Friday, June 7 at 9:00 a.m. – Meet and connect with exceptional industry experts at our Downtown Round Robin breakfast. Moderated by Co-Chair Richard Grossman of Halstead and featuring: REBNY Broker Counsel Neil Garfinkel of AGMB Law; Paul Booth and Alfred Renna of Douglas Elliman; Adrian Intriago of Citibank; Matthew Leone of Halstead; and Andrew Berman. Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South.

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