NYC tenants rights when showing an apartment?

Asked by Marjorie Howard, Brooklyn, NY Tue May 7, 2013

My lease is up at the end of this month (my roommates and I decided not to renew). A broker (who is not associated with our management company) contacted us directly and requested a copy of our keys to show the apartment to people interested in renting. I imagine she got our telephone number from the landlord (even though that situation in itself is a bit sketchy since a new contact claimed that our previous landlord is no longer our current landlord however the previous landlord still claims to be).

My roommates and I are not comfortable giving a copy of the apartment keys to a broker or anyone who isn't associated with our property management company (and find it odd that she contacted the tenant directly rather than going through the landlord). We spoke with that broker and explained that someone is here most of the time to allow access to show the apartment (one of us works from home)

What are my rights as a tenant in NYC when it comes to showing an apartment?

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Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Tue May 7, 2013
At the end of the day it depends on what's written in your lease but I can't image for one moment that it states that you should hand over a copy of your keys to an unknown or even known party in the event that the owner wants to sell. It probably states the owner or property management has the right to show the house but that typically means scheduling and coordinating showing times with you on mutually agreeable terms. I wouldn't personally provide a copy and neither would I waste money consulting an attorney as some might advise.You're leaving at the end of the month fortunately as what you described sounds a little sloppy. Good luck to you.

Janet Nation
0 votes
Patrick David, Agent, New York, NY
Tue May 7, 2013
Technically the broker would have to schedule with you when you are available to allow access for viewing/showing.
1 vote
Very true. What if they don't give notice is that illegal?
Flag Sun Oct 15, 2017
Joseph Hasti…, Agent, Bayside, NY
Thu Aug 15, 2013
DO NOT hand over any keys to this person. What you received was a call from a disembodied someone claiming to be a real estate professional. How would you be able to verify that?

NEVER hand out keys. You're correct in that keys would be obtained through the Owner/management. Certainly you should check your lease to see if anything pertains to showing if you don't renew but that is usually based on showing your legally rented apartment at a time that is convenient for you. Demand that any perspective tenants not view alone but are in the company of a licensed real estate pro. We are required by NY State to carry our pocket licenses and we are also required to show it on demand. I would ask to see it before allowing anyone in and if the agent doesn't have it, I would NOT allow them access. Not sure if the info you seek is in the NYS Tenants Guide so, here's the link:…
0 votes
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York City, NY
Thu Aug 15, 2013
From my experience, brokers get copies of the keys from the management companies and, when it is an occupied apartment, the management company also gives a tenant phone number to call and schedule a showing. As a tenant you should discuss all details and specific terms to access your apartment with the management company. General terms, like how long of a notice they should give you to show and how long before expiration of your lease they can start showing, should be in your lease agreement - you should review it and then call the management company if you have any special requests about the time of showings, etc.
0 votes
Mitchell Hall, Agent, New York, NY
Tue May 7, 2013
The broker is either representing the landlord or a tenant. Most leases stipulate landlord can start showing apartment to prospective tenants within 30 or 60 days of termination. However most leases also stipulate the tenant must be given 24 hours notice.

I represent owners with tenants in apartment. In some cases all communication for showing requests is through owner. Owner contacts tenant for showing request and then confirms with broker. I may contact tenants direct when given permission by both landlord and tenant to notify them 24 hours in advance of a requested showing.

Usually permission to enter is through tenant but landlord must notify tenant that I am the broker and will be contacting tenant. I would not give your keys to anyone that you do not know and your landlord did not tell you to.

Since you or your roommate works at home only schedule showings when one of you are home. You can either be present or if you don't want to be in the apartment while it's being shown just open door and walk around the block for 10 minutes or where ever.

Good Luck!
0 votes
Marjorie How…, Renter, Brooklyn, NY
Tue May 7, 2013
Just to update. We had to give our landlord a 30 day notice that we chose not to renew (which we did). My question is...why is a broker not associated with our building or management company requesting a copy of the keys from the tenant? Wouldn't this be requested from the landlord? So if 10 different brokers show the apartment, am I supposed to give all of those brokers a key to my apartment? seems a little fishy. I've lived in other states where they at the very least use lock boxes to keep track of who is entering an apartment or house.

There is also someone here every day to allow access since one of us works from home so access is not an issue. According to the lease it says can show with reasonable notice.

According to my insurance company, I could be liable for theft or damage if keys are supplied to people other than the tenant or landlord.
0 votes
Kelly Killian, Agent, Astoria, NY
Tue May 7, 2013
You need to check your contract. Most contracts have a 30 or 60 day clause that indicate the right for the landlord to show. You can require that you are there if you like, but that could be a headache. I would confirm the real estate agent's license and then let them show, and give them the keys as otherwise it will be a great pain in the rear. They all carry insurance for theft and that sort of thing, and no broker would allow anything to happen any way. In the end of the day, you will need a good landlord reference letter so you should do your best to accommodate pending the contractual clause.
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