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Ask Curbed: Management Fee That Rivals a Broker's?

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When it comes to finding a new rental apartment, Manhattan is like Cutthroat Island, without Geena Davis and Matthew Modine but definitely including the inflated budget. As such, everyone is looking for a break, and that usually involves skipping out on having to pay a broker's fee. Hey, it's the Internet Age, it should be easy to cut out the middleman, right? RIGHT?

I'm trying to avoid a brokers fee in looking for a 1BR to rent starting in May or June. I've been calling management companies directly and asking about vacancies, and I've found a lot of stuff. Anyway, I recently called a management company about a place in Gramercy. They advertised it as $3k/mth. I went, took a look, and was totally sold on the place. That is, until the guy showing it to me, who works for the company that manages the building, told me there's a 12% fee on the apartment. This makes the rent, essentially, $3450, not $3000.

Now, this doesn't make sense to me -- the company that owns and manages the building is also charging fees to rent it out. But, maybe I'm just naive. So, the question: Is it commonplace for a company who owns a building to charge fees when renting it out?

We've heard of management fees of a couple hundred bucks or so for credit checks and the like, but a 12% whopper? Sounds like a first. But maybe we're naive. Any tips/advice for our Ask Curbeder?
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