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The Curbed Ethicist: Pay $1800 Broker Fee... Or Not?

When renting an apartment, one often encounters that rough beast known as the rental agent. What happens when the rental agent doesn't do his homework, leaving the client with a signed lease?but no firm agreement to pay a broker fee? A Curbed reader emails an epic yarn of an East 30th Street rental that leaves him with quite the moral quandary. He seeks your advice. Read on....

A Curbed reader emails:

I was wondering if Curbed or its readers can offer their opinion on my present situation in dealing with a real estate broker.

I had answered a Craigs List listing for a rent stabilized rental studio on E 30th between 3rd & Lex (is that officially Kips Bay or Murray Hill?). The broker was having an open house and invited me to see the apt, he also put signs on phone booths & light poles all around the neighborhood to promote the open house.

After a 2nd open house viewing (an applicant from the 1st open house was rejected by the landlord), I decided to apply for the apt. The broker told me where the landlord