Landlords — Not Renters — Will Now Have to Pay Broker Fees

According to new statewide regulations, broker fees will now be prohibited from being passed onto prospective tenants

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Broker fees: For anyone who has ever gone apartment hunting in New York City, it’s usually the final blow concluding an already painful process.

After hunting for a place to live for weeks (if not months) and finally finding somewhere suitable, and on top of sometimes having to shell out as much as three months’ rent including deposit, that broker fee can feel particularly harsh.

Well, fret no more. According to new statewide regulations, those fees will now be banned from being passed onto prospective tenants.

Instead, under the new rules the New York Department of State says that landlords will be the ones paying those fees, which sometimes either equate to one month’s rent or 15 percent of the yearly rent total.

However, if an apartment hunter hires a broker directly, the fees will still fall to them. Landlords who hire brokers to fill their units will pay the broker fees.

The regulations apply to units across the state, but impact the city most prominently, where broker fees would sometimes prevent would-be tenants from applying as up-front costs would be too high to afford.

Other regulations outlined in the Statewide Housing Security & Tenant Protection Act and the Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act, both of which were passed in 2019, include:

  • Landlords prohibited from collecting application fees greater than $20 unless otherwise provided for by law or regulation
  • Application fees waived if a background or credit check provided by the potential tenant was conducted in the past 30 days.
  • Landlords restricted from charging late rent fees “unless the payment of rent has not been made within five days of the date it was due,” and penalties cannot be more than $50 or five percent of the monthly rent, whichever is less
  • Deposits must be returned within two weeks after the tenant has left the apartment
  • No deposit or advance for a unit can be more than one month’s rent, and landlord cannot request additional security deposit for pets or move-in expenses

New York’s Department of State released further guidance on the acts in paperwork dated January 31, 2020.

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