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Sally K, Other/Just Looking in Scarsdale, NY

Who pays the rental commission in NY?

Asked by Sally K, Scarsdale, NY Tue Aug 18, 2009

We are looking for a rental home in Westchester County and an agent sent us the agreement of 10% annual fee for the service. They will only show us 4 or 5 houses! Is that normal in NY? I thought the owner or listing agent will pay for it. Is there any way to find a rental home by owner? It is not that we cannot afford to pay but we want to know before we sign the agreement. Please help!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Sally,

It is not unusual in Westchester County that a broker charge 10% of the aggregate rental amount, if you sign an Exclusive Right to Represent. In that case, the agent must disclose to the landlord that you are paying their commission. Because I had an Exclusive Right to Represent Contract with a rental client, the client was able to get the apt. he wanted only because the landlord did not have to pay my broker a commission. We were competing against another offer, and that was the deal maker. Sometimes it allows you to negotiate the price as well.

Having an Exclusive with one agent, you should expect that agent to work hard for you. I would not sign an Exclusive with anyone until you've met them, and know you will enjoy working with them, because an Exclusive Right to Represent means you will work only with that agent, for a period of time determined by you.

You do not have to sign an Exclusive Right to Represent, or, you can choose to pay a percentage (usually 50%) of one month's rent commission on the Exclusive form, (not 10% aggregate amount). That way, the agent is guaranteed to be paid for her work if she finds a property for you where the landlord is not offering a commission. You can also search on Craig's List, etc., and if you find something, your agent can get you in, and as Karla said, you will have a real estate professional handling negotiations, and checking on the ownership of the property, in case it's not legitimate.

Sally Griffiths
Weichert, Realtors
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 19, 2009
Hi Sally, There are laws that require full disclosure when it comes to representation and compensation in NY. An agreement between an Agent and a Buyer Customer/Client (there is a difference) is a MUTUAL agreement as are the terms of the agreement. Some agents have a certain way that they work, if you aren't happy with their terms you can opt to change agents or negotiate.

The majority of the time agents, even Buyers agents are paid by the seller. In essence it all comes from the buyers loan from the bank, paid to the seller, then to the agents involved.

I am an Accredited Buyer Representative, I normally get paid by the seller and when it comes to rentals our office charges 1 months rent paid by the tenant with no additional fees if you extend your lease. It's a one time fee and that's it. Every office has their own way of working. I recommend you speak to a few and work with whoever you feel most comfortable. After all it is your money and should be spent the way you choose to spend it or not. :o)

You can go on websites like Craigslist or to search listings on your own. Just be careful of scams and also what you tell the landlord, especially if you plan to negotiate. The main reasons for having your own agent is to look out for your best interest, negotiate the best price and terms, and guide you through the paperwork. You might slip up and disclose something that you don't legally have to and hurt yourself in the negotiation.


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyers Representative
Legends Realty Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 18, 2009
In addition to the good advice already given, you could also talk to property managers in Scarsdale (do a Google search). They are often affiliated with real estate companies but may be separate entities. Most handle apartment buildings but many also handle single family homes. I own rental houses upstate and elsewhere and property managers are the contact point for my tenants. Property managers track lots of inventory (i.e. houses to rent). The good ones are terrific.

It sounds like you are being asked to pick up the property management expense for the entire year. I have never heard of this; the landlord always pays for that in my experience. Unless of course this is a special Scarsdale thing! But I find this

I also recommend Craig's List. Do verify that the purported Landlord really owns the place before handing over any funds. There have been press reports of tenants, posing as landlords, collecting cash security deposits and then disappearing into the night. Rare, but not something you need in your life.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 19, 2009
Rental commissions differ according to different parts of the state. On Long Island, where I work, most of the time, the tenant pays the commission. It seems to me that this agent may be seeking money in addition to whatever commission might be offered by the owner or will only show you properties in their inventory because the listing agent has to be paid from somewhere. I would check with some other agents in the area to see what the norm is around there. At the end of the day, whatever you agree to is a negotiated fee. Good luck.

Ralph Windschuh
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Associate Broker
Century 21 Princeton Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 19, 2009
Hi Sally,

You can be represented by a Broker and their agent and they can set any fee, or you have the option of working with an agent that represents the seller and not pay anything.

Its better to sit with us for a few minutes and we can explain your options.

Actually the agent that wants 10% fees should have explained this to you in greater detail, and since your posting here, my guess is that agent is already just not right for you since the communication is poor.

Please call our offices and let us find the RIGHT home for you!

We look forward to hearing from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 18, 2009
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