Rentals in 10003>Question Details

Joe Smith, Renter in New York

If I signed a "fee-agreement" for a "no fee" apt, do I have to pay the broker fee?

Asked by Joe Smith, New York Mon Oct 17, 2011

I have been looking for apartments on craigslist and I came across one in the beginning of my search that was listed as a "by owner" apt and the only fee listed was a credit check. I emailed the contact in the ad and they informed me that (pretending to be the owner) that the apartment is only being shown by one broker. I went back and forth and ended up meeting him to see the apartment. I thought it was very nice, but unaffordable with a broker's fee. A few weeks later I was looking on another site and found the same apt listed as "no-broker fee" and was directed to the management company. We called them up and we were informed that the super can show us the apartment and we do not need a broker. I am now in a predicament because I signed a "fee-agreement" form with the broker (without reading it) mainly because I thought it was unaffordable with a brokers fee and I didn't care. I feel because this broker misrepresented himself and knowingly misled me, I shouldn't have to pay a fee.

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Help the community by answering this question:


Joe rule 1 is never sign anything without reading it. if you signed a legal document, only a lawyer can tell you if you have a case to have it voided. good luck working things out
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 17, 2011
Hi Joe,

Point well taken.

I wish you well with your new place and hope that you build happy and great memories.

All the best,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 1, 2011
Hey everybody, I really appreciate your responses on this. I ended up not taking this apartment because we found one we liked more for the same price, however, I am still ticked off about this and might pursue filing a complaint against this broker. I called the management company and they said that the broker (they know who he is) is not the owner nor is he affiliated with the owner or management. My next question, who would I complain to? It is really despicable that someone who pose as an owner and completely lie to someone like that. I am not surprised as there are a lot of sites where you can get around using a broker, but this was just completely unethical.

Khalid, I see you retracted your original statement but let me tell you as a renter where I am coming from. I am not trying to screw over anybody. If I asked a broker to go find me an apartment because I did not have the time nor the desire or patience to see a lot of apartments, then I would have no problem paying a broker fee. However, if I do all the work and go to buildings myself, why should I have to pay thousands of dollars for opening the door. Having said that, this situation is a little different. The only reason that I signed the agreement, was because I was 100% sure I would not take the apartment because it was not nice enough to take with the broker fee. Without the broker fee, it is much cheaper, and therefore affordable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 31, 2011
This is a sticky situation indeed. I am not giving any legal advice here, but I do know that the fee agreement is binding for 90 days in most cases. While the broker sounds shady and did something unethical to get a $3-$6 savings on craigslist advertising, they did introduce you to said apartment. If the owner is paying them one month's rent, they must rent it to you for that month's rent as it was advertised as no fee. Them trying to collect the remaining percentage of the 15% of the first annual rent is definitely not kosher.
With that being said, if there is no "OP" then you are pretty screwed. Stalk that management and watch for a new listing to hit in the same building when your 90 days is up.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 28, 2011
After careful review of the actions that transpired between Mr. Smith and the anonymous broker (as well as the interpretation of the real estate law presented by my industry colleagues I must have to agree with Mr. Smith. The broker did not practice good ethics and shouldn't expect to receive any fee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 26, 2011
Khalid, did you read Joe Smith's question? An agent who pretends to be an owner and also represents an apartment as "No Fee" when there is a fee, is unethical and is not entitled to anything but being reported to the DOS. FYI real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to customers and clients and even rental agents must provide an NYS agency disclosure form
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 26, 2011
Stop trying to screw the broker out of their fee and just pay them. Getting a lawyer to see if the contract can be voided? get real! Everybody has to make a living out here. The brokers put a lot of hard work and energy into finding people places to live and nary get a thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 26, 2011
Joe, How do you know this person is really an agent or a broker? If they lied to you about being an owner...
What company was this? What kind of form did you sign? Here is a link to the NYS DOS about Apartment Hunting in NYC
You can also see if this person is a licensed agent and what broker they work for here:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 19, 2011
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