Rentals in Gramercy Park>Question Details

Jason, Renter in New York

Brokers fee on sublet

Asked by Jason, New York Tue Nov 1, 2011

i found a apt listed under the no fee section of craigslist, also stated in the fee section no fee. I saw the place and loved it. I found the place but the listing broker is asking for a fee, i dont mind but just kind of feel cheated a little. if its listed and stated as a no fee apt other than false advertising is it legal to charge a fee on a sublet since i found it. Under ny state law it states that a broker can only collect a fee if THEY find me a apt. Since i found it why should i pay a fee?

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thanks to everyone that answered, i spoke to the sub landlord and its his broker who put the ad up. I negotiated the one month fee to $1800, down $700 after I made it abundantly clear that I was very unhappy with the Bait and Switch tactic. Its a great building, great unit, its big, exactly what I was looking for, and they accepted my 30 LB siberian husky.

I don't mind paying someone for their efforts, everyone has to make a living or else we might as well turn to socialism. I told them they should've just been upfront with me, I would've gladly paid the fee for the place. It hurts a bit less after you've seen so many other apts and I wouldn't have had access to the sub landlord without the broker. In the end am i a little pissed still? Yes. Am I going to pay the fee? Yes. Did I get a place thats exactly what I wanted and a 1 min commute to school? Yep.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Hi Jason,

When a broker lists an apartment there is always a fee. Either landlord owner pays or tenant or both pay. Unfortunately Craiglist is filled with "bait and switch" no fee ads, spam and scams and unethical rental brokers.

It has been an ongoing problem for years. In fact NYC rental ads from brokers is the only category that Craigslist charges for. The reasoning was to prevent unethical brokers, false ads, spam and scams.

If you have an ad that clearly states no fee and you are required to pay a fee that is good old "bait and switch" It is a DOS violation and a violation of Craigslist TOS and REBNY.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog about this and Craig from Craigslist commented that he personally was working on these cases.


Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
As I know, sometimes managing companies hire a broker to find a sublet when a tenant is moving out earlier and this broker is getting paid by the tenant. The fee is not unusual here but the false advertizing is unacceptable and is in violation. It is important to figure out who this broker was hired by and how did you find out about the apartment- through the current tenant or through this broker, etc. - whose ad you responded to and who showed you this apartment and submitted your paperwork to the landlord
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Jason, is it possible that the owner has agreed to pay his/her listing broker's fee (and that's why that broker posted it as a "no fee" listing) but perhaps another broker is presenting you as his/her client and that broker is now looking to be paid a fee? Its hard to tell without further info but if you saw the listing posted as "no fee" and you yourself contacted the listing broker and were told there is a fee, then it sounds wrong - if you were working with another broker who you agreed to allow to bring you as their client, this may be the source of the confusion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
It is false advertising but a lot of brokers do it. It is a way for us to get a phone call on a listing and 9 out of 10 people hang up the phone after discovering that there is a fee he should have told you earlier (before taking you out) about the broker's fee. It gets trickier when it comes to sublets I know that if you signed an agreement with the Broker and the apt that you liked is a Broker's fee you won't be able to get that apt w/o paying that broker. The law does protect us for upto 3 months. You can either wait or do some more research and try to work with management companies directly if you are trying to avoid paying the Broker's fee. Just an FYI the No broker's fee apts are usually a couple of hundred dollars more per month than those with a fee, The broker's fee can be always negotiated so it is my advice not to shy away from those but to hold your ground and negotiate. Any broker would rather go down on their fee rather than lose a deal completely. Hope this helps and best of luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
If you found the apartment on your own, but the listing broker has an exclusive and showed it, he is still SUPPOSED to get a fee.

That being said, there are two things wrong here....

1:Was the ad posted by said broker or the owner?
2:How did you find it? Through the owner or the broker?

Therein lies the big problem.

If the broker mislead and posted in the owner section because the owner is paying him one month's rent, then he should "ETHICALLY" accept that one month rent "OP" (owner paid ) and move on as he was not the owner to begin with and found a way around the $3-$6 per ad on cl.

However, the standard fee downtown is 15%. When you do the math, one month is not really that amount.

It sounds shaaaaaaaaaaaaady all around no matter which way you slice it. If you are looking in prime areas, you kind of have to expect to pay a fee either way unless you have a lot of shoe leather to invest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Hi Jason,

You have a valid argument, but you're coming at it from the wrong direction. Who found the apartment is irrelevant. If you engage any broker to perform a service for you, the fee has to be disclosed, and then you must pay it. Now and advertising IS a disclosure. In this case the broker you've engaged has STATED i.e. DISCLOSED that there is not fee to be paid by the TENANT (You) for this apartment.

You have all the recourse you care to leverage in this case. And since the unit is in Gramercy Park, near my office, I am happy be able to offer you more help. Feel free to call me - 917-848-6928
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Sounds like a bait and switch, totally unethical. If the broker did not fully disclose to yo that it was a fee apartment and you did not sign anything I would go directly to his owner broker and then to REBNY.

Barry M Salottolo
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Owner All Points Realty LLC
Manhattan, Westchester, Connecticut
5 Willow Place #2
Mount Vernon, New York 10550
Cell: 914-310-2930 FAX: 914-764-7420
"Whatever you're thinking and feeling today
is creating your future"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
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