Press Release

1,500 Agents Rally at City Hall to Oppose Broker Fee Bill


June 11, 2024

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Massive rally of real estate professionals highlights the negative outcomes Intro 360 will have on tenants and brokers alike

Legislation will incentivize higher rents, less housing access and fewer brokerage services that renters rely on

NEW YORK, NY –Approximately 1,500 brokers and real estate professionals rallied at City Hall today in opposition to Intro. 360, the ‘FARE’ Act, otherwise known as the “Broker Fee Bill.” The rally was coordinated by The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), New York City’s leading real estate trade association, and took place shortly before a City Council hearing on the bill. More than a dozen REBNY members testified at the hearing to outline a wide range of flaws with the legislation and negative outcomes it would produce for renters, agents, owners and New York City’s broader economy.

“Legislation that will make rents higher, further limit housing access and threaten the livelihood of hardworking agents is legislation that New York City elected officials should be unanimously against,” said James Whelan, President of REBNY. “There are thousands of residential real estate agents that call New York City home and will not stay silent as policies are considered like the FARE Act, which will worsen our housing crisis and potentially put them out of work.”

The legislation is aimed at regulating who pays for broker compensation in residential rental transactions and would create a wide range of negative outcomes, which REBNY members outlined at the rally and hearing.

  • Landlords will increase rents to offset broker fee costs,

    resulting in immediately higher financial burdens for renters and making a previously one-time fee now amortized each time a renter re-signs a lease.

  • Housing access would become even worse

    , as rent increases spurred by this bill will make meeting income requirements of 40 times the monthly rent harder for many apartment applicants.

  • Broker services that renters rely on will become harder to find,

    as rent-stabilized landlords already suffering from the State’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA) and small property owners will not be able to pay agents or offset their costs. This means

    less online listings with accurate information and quality pictures, in-person showings, support finalizing application paperwork and third-party oversight by experienced professionals trained in fair housing law. 

  • Hardworking agents will see their livelihoods threatened,

    as the bill disincentives hiring agents and exclusives, which protect agents from working on listings only to have renters and owners finalize transactions behind their back and not pay them fair compensation.

This analysis outlined by industry experts Wednesday reflects personal experience from the far less organized rental market of the 1990s before the proliferation of digital home search platforms, as well as the aftermath of similar legislation that was briefly enacted in 2020. According to some reports, while the 2020 legislation was in place affected apartments saw average rent increases of 6.1% in just one month.

In addition to outlining problems with the FARE Act, REBNY members and staff at City Hall Wednesday offered suggestions to the Council for better ways to address New York City’s housing crisis and improve the home search process. This includes requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to create and periodically update guidance explaining to tenants that commissions are negotiable, supporting zoning changes and incentives to help create more housing supply, and advocating for reforms to the State’s disastrous HSTPA legislation.

“Anyone with a simple understanding of economics and a willingness to analyze the data around housing in New York City should understand that costs are growing for renters due to a lack of supply,” said Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens. “The Council should be engaging the industry on solutions to create the 500,000 plus new homes experts agree we need by 2030, rather than trying to shakedown agents who provide valuable services to renters and the City’s economy.”

“Residential real estate is a customer service-driven business. Renters are our customers, and we want the best outcome for them through the entire home search process,” said Hal D. Gavzie, Executive Vice President of Residential Leasing at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “This legislation would make renting an apartment more costly, competitive and volatile.”

Regardless of who they contact first, agent or owner, New York City renters benefit from services agents provide,” said Daniel Marrello, Senior Managing Director at Compass. “This bill is prefaced by misinformation about the real estate market and if enacted will only make it more expensive and onerous for New Yorkers to find and lease an apartment.”

Whether purposefully intended or not, supporters of this bill are minimizing the value agents provide to renters, regardless of who hires them,” noted Douglas Wagner, Director of Brokerage Services at BOND New York. “Rather than just open a door, our firms work tirelessly to organize accurate listing data from thousands of addresses throughout the city, offer prospective renters behind the scenes insight on the market, safeguard them against fair housing law violations and streamline complex transactions. This bill will reduce transparency and choice for consumers looking for a rental, while taking the home search process back decades.”

“Like HSTPA, industry experts are raising the alarm on the disastrous effects the FARE Act would have on housing in New York City,” said Sarah Saltzberg, Bohemia Realty Group Co-Founder. “The City Council must stop the FARE Act before it becomes law and results in higher overall rents and less access to lower cost housing as HSTPA has produced.”