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Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

What Is The Average Rental Broker Fee In NYC?

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Getting your apartment to rent can be tricky in New York City. There are so many scams and crazy stunts people pull. It’s not surprising that many people prefer to work with rental brokers. Rental brokers are professional real estate workers who make a point of vetting renters and vetting apartment owners. It doesn’t always come cheap if you want to rent through a broker. How much is a typical rental broker fee in New York? The average apartment broker fee can range from a standard one-month rent to as much as 15 percent of the annual rental price. Stable and affordable housing will usually have a broker fee of one month. If you want to rent a luxury apartment, the fees can climb as high as 15 percent. Finding out about the NYC rental broker fees can be a bit of a shock.

However, you should be aware of a lot more of this story.

How Much Is The Average Rental Broker Fee For A Typical NYC Apartment?

If you’re like most New Yorkers, you’re all about saving money on your apartment. Rental broker fees in NYC are notoriously high. The typical broker fee in New York City is anywhere from one month (8.33% of annual rent) up to 15% of the yearly rent.

The amount of the fee and who pays it depends on what the landlord and the listing broker negotiated.

avoid broker fees NYC , couple visiting an apartment - Rental Broker Fee

Realtor showing apartment bedroom to couple

While a 15% rental broker fee is the norm for luxury rentals, it’s more common to see broker fees of one month of rent for less expensive rentals. There has also been an increasing trend toward ‘no fee’ rentals over the past few years, particularly in neighborhoods with a larger supply of available apartments.

Most of us want an affordable (yet nice!) apartment. That’s why we’re going to go with the definition of a typical New York City apartment for this article. Most NYC rent brokers who work with standard apartments will charge one month’s rent.

Why Would A Rental Broker Fee Be Higher Than 1 Month?

Most of the time, rental broker fees get higher due to the high price of a specific rental. Luxury rentals are harder to rent out, so they need to market them more. As a result, they may charge a higher fee simply because it’s so much harder to pair an apartment with an appropriate renter.

Are There Any Rental Brokers Who Will Work For Free?

If there were, then we’d be the first to be amazed. Rental brokers do not work for free; otherwise, they would be non-for-profit. That doesn’t always mean you will be stuck with the bill. If you are looking to rent an apartment and assume a broker fee is off the table, it’s best to understand how this works.

What is a no-fee rental in New York City?

When a rental listing is a ‘no fee’ to prospective tenants, it simply means that the landlord is paying the broker fee instead of the tenant. The trend toward ‘no fee’ rentals was exacerbated by the New York Department of State’s temporary prohibition on tenants paying rental broker fees in NYC, which occurred in early 2020.

When an apartment is ‘No Fee,’ it either means that

  • the landlord agreed to pay the fee or
  • the landlord is renting the unit directly without the involvement of a broker.

Where to find a no-fee rental in New York City?

You can narrow your search to focus exclusively on ‘No Fee’ rentals. No Fee rentals are more common in parts of the city with large rental buildings, such as FiDi and Midtown. Demand for a “No Fee rental” in hot neighborhoods with less inventory and more robust demand, such as the West Village, is less realistic. This is because tenants have no trouble finding tenants, and plenty of other tenants are willing to pay the going rate broker fee.

Who Is Responsible For A NYC Rental Broker’s Fee?

Traditionally, the person who wants to move into the apartment covers the broker fee. This is quite different from the rest of the country, where it’s relatively typical for the landlord to compensate the rental broker. The rental broker fee is usually payable on the day you sign the rental agreement, along with the security deposit, legally capped at one month of rent in New York City.

The reason why renters in NYC typically pay the broker fee is market demand dynamics. Limited apartment inventory in NYC and robust demand from renters lets New York City landlords get away with having the tenants pay the rental broker fees.

So, saving up more than just the apartment’s deposit is essential if you are looking to rent an apartment. It’s customary to plunk down as much as 3.5 times the monthly rent to move in.

However, some areas are particularly tough to rent to for other reasons, such as crime or pests. When a landlord wants to rent out their area fast, they may offer to cover the broker fee for the apartment. You might see “fee-free” apartments listed on major sites.

Why Would An Apartment Owner Be Willing To Pay The Fee?

A tenant pays the rental broker fee most of the time in NYC. If a landlord is willing to pay the broker fee, they are having trouble finding a tenant to rent the apartment. You might find an apartment owner who wants to spend the broker fee for several reasons. These include the following common causes:

  • They want to make money fast. The sooner people move in, the better it is for a landlord’s bottom line. Waiting on the market for people will only burn a hole in their budget. Saving people thousands of dollars in fees is an excellent way to get people to move fast.
  • It’s been hard to find a renter who can afford your price range. Believe it; you can have apartments too high-priced for a specific area. In some cases, dropping the fee from their burden can be a way to ensure that you win them over compared to other apartments of a similar size.
  • Your broker’s cash back. We’ve all heard of apartments with a bad rap in New York. If you’re a landlord of a building that regularly has violations, you might need to go “fee free” to get a renter willing to do it.

Are Rental Broker Fees in NYC negotiable, and Is There Any Way To Decrease Rental Broker Fees?

In New York City, brokerage rebates are legal. You can get cash back from your broker if they can rent out your home, and this is a great way to get a discount that kicks in after you rent out your home.

The landlord is the one who hired the agent. From his perspective, rental broker fees are just as negotiable as broker commissions on sales in NYC. The savvy landlord understands the vacancy risks and will want to ensure that the all-in cost of the rental from a tenant’s perspective is in line with comparable units. The landlord will try to negotiate down the rental broker fee even though the tenant is the one who will ultimately be paying for it.

From a tenant’s perspective, rental broker fees are less negotiable because there is a line of qualified candidates. Why would a rental broker rent an apartment to you for a lower fee if they have numerous other candidates willing to pay the full broker fee?

Do You Need To Get A Rental Broker For Your Apartment?

Legally, no laws bar you from renting an apartment without a broker. It’s just that brokers make things easier and safer for all things involved. Going through a broker means that landlords get better renters who have been vetted. For renters, it means they can rest assured that the apartment is legit and legal.

Get A Better Deal Today

If you are worried about dealing with broker fees or similar, then there is a straightforward solution that you can consider: talk to a company that offers broker rebates. Having a rental broker is a smart way to ensure you get better deals on rentals—as both a renter and a landlord. Give our office a call today.



Written By: Ossiana Tepfenhart

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