No they can't and I'm glad you've asked! I previously asked the same question to spread the word to unsuspecting potential people hoping to get referrals as I had seen a posting on a website offering to give supers and doormen a referral fee! I believe attorneys might be able to receive a commission or referral fee as they are exempt from having to be licensed to act as agents or brokers..The NYS Real Estate law is posted here: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/lawbooks/re-law.html
The only time a unlicensed individual can sell or rent residential property for a fee is when they are selling something on behalf of their employer. For example Donald Trumps staff members can sell or rent his units as unlicensed individuals but they cannot sell something for anyone else unless they work for that company or individual.