NYC council member pushes for bill to make landlords pay broker fees

A New York City council member has revived his efforts to pass a bill that would shift the burden of paying broker fees from renters to landlords. The bill, which has the support of most of the council, faces strong opposition from the real estate industry, which argues that it would increase rents and hurt brokers.

The bill would end the practice of renter-paid broker fees

The bill, known as the Fairness in Apartment Rental Expenses (FARE) Act, was reintroduced by council member Chi Ossé in February. The bill would require landlords to pay the broker fees for the apartments they hire brokers to market. Currently, renters often have to pay the broker fees, which can range from 12 to 15 percent of the annual rent, even if they did not hire the broker.

Ossé said that the bill would bring transparency and fairness to the rental market, and that it would help renters save money on the high upfront costs of moving. He said that the bill would also benefit tenant-side brokers, who are often at a disadvantage compared to landlord-side brokers.

broker fees
broker fees

The bill has majority support in the council, but faces hurdles

The bill has gained the backing of 26 council members, which is more than half of the 51-member body. The bill also has the support of several tenant advocacy groups, such as the Legal Aid Society and Housing Justice for All. The supporters of the bill say that it would protect renters from predatory practices and fees, and that it would make the rental market more accessible and affordable.

However, the bill also faces significant hurdles, both inside and outside the council. The bill has not been scheduled for a hearing or a vote yet, and it is unclear if it will pass before the end of the current session in December. The bill also faces fierce resistance from the real estate industry, which has lobbied against it and filed lawsuits to block similar attempts in the past.

The real estate industry argues that the bill would harm renters and brokers

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), which represents brokers and agents in the city, has been the main opponent of the bill. REBNY claims that the bill would not benefit renters, but rather increase their rents and reduce their choices. REBNY argues that landlords would pass on the cost of the broker fees to tenants through higher rents, and that some landlords would stop using brokers altogether, limiting the supply and quality of apartments.

REBNY also claims that the bill would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of brokers, who rely on the fees for their income. REBNY says that brokers add value to the rental process, and that they deserve fair compensation for their work. REBNY says that the bill would create a disincentive for brokers to work with renters, and that it would hurt the diversity and professionalism of the industry.

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