The misconception that an agent is paid only for showing you an apartment is common. The agent has marketed the unit incurring expenses for advertising, photographs, etc. They may have shown it to 20 people. If agents compensation was based soley upon the time spent with the actual buyer or renter, we would make nothing. Did you pay all the other agents you spoke with any money? No, but you did use their time. BTW standard fees are typically 15% though that is not a law and agents are free to set them wherever they want.
It seems you may have gone poking around to get around the agent.
Does that mean a board package in this case, which can take many hours to prepare? Not to mention the time it took to put the apartment on the web so you could find it in the first place?
If so, no broker's fee--does that sound fair to you? I hope you don't need any maintenance on the apartment while you're living there, with a landlord like that--unless he is planning to pay the broker's fee for you (which is entirely possible). If he plans on paying the broker's fee, then that's fine, that may be his intention.
You should discuss your concern with the broker, tell her what happened. She should go back to the owner for a little chat to get things straightened out. If you have to pay, and you may not if the owner pays, then you should work out a compromise on the fee.
The broker is entitled to a fee from someone. However, please note that some unethical brokers collect a fee from the owner AND a fee from the tenant. Not at my company, but I hear this is happening. Since you know how to reach the owner directly, you can always check on this.
Hope it all works out nicely!
I assume he has a written listing agreement. If so, he needs to stand behind it, and cannot arbitrarily waive or reduce anything. In my opinion, you don't have "grounds" to argue for anything. The broker's listing on the internet brought you to the apartment, Now he or she will be handling all the paperwork. The landlord and you should both be happy you found each other.....and it WAS a result of the listing being placed on the internet by the broker.