Real Estate Weekly
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NAR throws weight behind agents in commission fight

The New York State Association of Realtors has filed its opposition to a controversial commission capping proposal for New York City rental agents.

“This legislation would unjustly target Realtors, establish a dangerous precedent regarding private real estate transactions and hurt prospective tenants without making rental housing more affordable in New York City,” said the Association in a memo to the City Council and bill sponsors, Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera.

The memo goes on: “Implicit in this proposed legislation is the assumption that the fees paid to real estate professionals providing this service are an unavoidable cost of finding rental housing.

“The reality is prospective tenants can simply opt out of using any or all real estate licensees during their search process if they find utilizing a licensee to be cost-prohibitive.”

Council member Powers contends, “The legislation does not cap the broker’s commission–it caps the renter’s exposure to that fee.

“ It is simply not sustainable that thousands of dollars are required upfront to live here, and I look forward to providing a form of relief for tenants.”

According to the NYSAR, Int. No. 1423, as the proposal is known unfairly targets Realtors without addressing any of the underlying problems driving housing unaffordability.

An August 2017 report from StreetEasy found that while rents grew at 3.9 percent annually from 2010 to 2017, median wages rose 1.8 percent per year over the same period.

“While rental housing costs in New York City are undoubtedly high relative to other major cities, targeting the fees collected by real estate licensees will do little to curb the cost of housing for prospective tenants, and will instead reduce the incomes of many real estate professionals working in New York City.

“Given slow wage growth, it makes little sense to reduce the earnings of real estate licensees, the vast majority of whom are middle-income or less.”

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