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NYC’s real estate industry reels from broker’s fee ban

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Max Touhey

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Here’s how the real estate industry is reacting to the broker’s fee ban

New York’s real estate industry is reeling from unexpected guidance issued by state regulators this week, which effectively bans the practice of asking prospective tenants to pay a broker’s commission. The industry has vowed to fight the new reading of the law, saying it’ll cost thousands of agents their jobs and lead to rent increases.

The change will have far-reaching—and unknowable—implications for New York City’s 25,000 licensed real estate brokers who make a living off of the fees. A top official at the Real Estate Board of New York told The Real Deal that the new guidance is “a body blow to thousands of hard-working New Yorkers,” while a rental broker speaking to the New York Post dubbed it “unconscionable” and another strike in the so-called “war on real estate.”

Renters, meanwhile, lauded the new guidance, but are still scrambling to understand how it will affect the process of finding an apartment. Many questions linger on both sides of the spectrum. While landlords of market-rate apartments have the option to pass on those extra costs to tenants, the situation is more complicated for those who own rent-regulated units. It’s also unclear what precisely qualifies a broker as a “a landlord’s agent” when non-exclusive rentals are common.

Do you have questions about how this will impact the process of renting an apartment, or anything else about the 2019 rent laws? If so, we want to hear from you—email your questions to

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