Broker fees are back for renters, in the latest chapter in a dispute that has roiled New York City’s real estate market over the past week.
A state judge on Monday temporarily halted the implementation of guidance by the New York Department of State (DOS), which said last week that renters would no longer have to pay the fees — ranging from 12% to 15% of a year’s rent — of brokers hired by landlords to market their units.
The DOS had determined, as part of its interpretation of the Statewide Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act, passed last year, that landlords would now have to cover broker fees. The new rent regulations also limited security deposits to one month’s rent and capped application fees at $20.
Powerful industry groups, including the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and the New York State Association of REALTORS (NYSAR), along with several major real estate firms, including Corcoran and Douglas Elliman, responded by filing a lawsuit against the state Monday.
The complaint alleged that the impact of the recommendations was “immediate and devastating,” with prospective tenants backing out of their agreements to pay broker commissions and tenants demanding that the fees they already paid be returned.
“The entry today by the Court in Albany of an order temporarily halting the implementation of New York State Department of State’s (DOS) interpretation of the Statewide Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act means that thousands of hardworking, honest real estate agents across New York State can do business in the same way they did prior to last week’s DOS memo without fear of discipline by the DOS,” REBNY President James Whelan and NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson said in a joint statement. “We look forward to ultimately resolving this matter in Court in the weeks ahead.”
The case will continue in New York State Supreme Court on March 13.