Hi there - the agent is usually compensated by the Landlord/Manager/Property Owner. I say usually because there are instances wherein the agent will not receive compensation. Most agents will check prior to directing you and then ask the Landlord side if there's compensation or not. If there isn't, you two should then sit down and talk about your part. There are also many different "customary" variables depending on where you live in the country or even in a given area of a state or county. In CA, many rental were listed in the MLS and it was easier to help a client find a rental. In MT, no rentals are listed in the MLS, making it more difficult to help a renter. Hope this helps and I'd say to contact a local Realtor you are comfortable with and strike a conversation up. Cheers!