Have you ever heard of supply and demand? Market conditions? An owner's market? There are many reasons why fees fall on tenants rather than landlords, in various neighborhoods and cities. If housing is in short and high demand, or highly desirable or sought-after in a given metropolitan area (i.e. Hoboken), then the burden typically falls on the applicant / tenant to pay the commission...just like it does in NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and countless other cities where realtors work hard to earn a living because there is a huge demand for housing. Just because you "believe" you shouldn't have to pay for a service doesn't mean you get to change the market! And frankly, many landlords figure if you can't even afford to pay rent, security and a broker's fee upfront, then that means you don't have a lot of savings, and therefore you are a risk to them anyway as a tenant. They'd usually prefer someone more financially qualified to rent in their buildings. Broker fees in Manhattan are typically up to 15% of the annual rent, almost always paid by the tenant. You have nothing to complain about.