We pay too much to live here


To the editor:

(re: “Broker fee bill bad news for Bronx renters, agents,” Aug. 31)

It does feel bleak sometimes living in present-day New York City. We are told that there are no new apartments being built. No room for people who are moving here. And, if you are living in a bad situation — roommates, family, partners, the building is decrepit — it can cost on the low end as much as $6,000 — all cash, no credit — just to move out.

These costs can come as frequently as every two years if you don’t have the luck to get a rent-stabilized apartment due to the rapidly increasing free-market rents. As a renter myself, the month of moving was like having taken up a second full-time job. It should not be this stressful for myself and the other two-thirds of New Yorkers who rent.

The original writer paints a view of New York that the Real Estate Board of New York would like to be true — one where this bill takes away the livelihood of the average real estate agent. The reality is that every other major American city and every other city in the state is currently surviving without placing this burden on renters — and with lower rents at that). I would like to point out that this bill does one main thing: forces change in a system that is not working.

This bill will benefit both the renters and real estate agents by forcing the agents themselves to be more transparent with the work they do. The original author brings up a great point in specifying all the work that is put into showing a listing. To the average renter, all we see are often sloppily placed listings that exaggerate the bedroom size and minimize the roach infestation.

Honestly, landlords are the main benefactors of this service because it keeps their buildings full and the rent roll flowing. It’s time we ask them to take part in the costs required to do so.

Another benefit is that, in forcing the landlord to take on the cost, landlords and renters will have to work together to negotiate the broker fee so that it can still remain within the budget of prospective renters. This negotiation will take the form of landlords giving their listings to a single agent instead of opening it up to the first person who gets a paying renter.

Again this will result in more qualified people doing the work that needs to be done, instead of the current system where five agents rush to see who fills it first for the thousand-dollar payout.

Currently within the fee structure, using the average rents given by the original author renting a three-bedroom apartment in the same building as a studio apartment will cost you $3,700 more at lease signing.

Why should it cost a working family that much more to rent an apartment than a college student? Is it actually $3,000 more in time when the vacancy rate has never been above 7 percent across the entire city?

Finally, if the landlord nor the renter will want to take on the cost of a real estate agent, they should be free to do so. Property managers exist for the same reason that real estate agents do: Because it’s a full-time job to fill the units and manage them.

If someone wanted to save money by doing that extra work, they were most likely doing so anyway.

If you agree please do your part and contact our city councilman: Ask them to say yes to the Int. 1105-2023.

Marcelo Lopez

Marcelo Lopez, cost of living, real estate, broker fee, Real Estate Board of New York