June 12, 2024

What to know about the NYC broker fee bill

Broker fees are once again up for debate in the New York City Council. A seven-hour public hearing on Wednesday brought hundreds of tenant advocates and real estate professionals to City Hall over Intro 360, or the Fairness in Apartment Renal Expenses (FARE) Act. The legislation, sponsored by Council Member Chi A. Ossé, calls for shifting the payment of broker fees to the party who hired the broker, often the landlord or management company. Agents argue landlords would bake the fees into the monthly rent, threatening their livelihood and increasing the financial burden for renters.
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January 9, 2024

NYC developers filed plans for just 9,909 housing units in 2023

In 2023, housing production in New York City slowed dramatically. According to a new Real Estate Board of New York report, developers filed 285 multi-family foundation plan applications with just 9,909 apartments proposed, a 78 percent drop in total unit filings from 2022 when there were over 45,500 units proposed. The number of dwelling units proposed last year is 50 percent of the roughly 20,000 units produced per year between 2000 and 2020. REBNY blames the expiration of the 421-a tax break for the major decline.
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May 27, 2021

New York officially gives real estate agents the go-ahead to collect broker fees

The state of New York this week walked back the broker fee ban that was never really a ban. Last year, the Department of State issued guidance related to the sweeping rent reform laws from 2019 that said brokers hired by landlords would not be allowed to charge prospective tenants a fee. Following several legal challenges, a judge ruled last month that a ban on broker fees was an "error of law" and struck down the law. The state on Tuesday officially updated the guidance to fall in line with the court ruling.
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February 10, 2021

NYC sees end-of-year residential sales surge, especially in Brooklyn and Queens

After three consecutive quarters of decline, the total residential sales volume and residential transactions in New York City during the final quarter of last year increased considerably. According to a new report released this week by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), total sales increased to $9 billion in Q4 2020 from $6.5 billion in Q3, a roughly 40 percent increase in sales volume. Notably, the outer boroughs drove the surge in sales, with a sales volume increase of 90 percent in Brooklyn and 69 percent in Queens during this period.
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June 11, 2020

Ahead of city’s phase two of reopening, REBNY releases safety guidelines for real estate brokers

As New York City looks ahead to phase two of reopening, the city's leading real estate trade group released this week safety recommendations for brokers to follow when conducting deals. Following public health protocols, the six guidelines created by the Real Estate Board of New York encourage face masks and social distancing, virtual preliminary meetings, appointment-only showings, and electronic contracts. Plus, REBNY created a COVID-19 screening questionnaire for all parties attending in-person showings to sign.
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April 3, 2020

Real estate work is essential, but showings must be virtual

Certain real estate work is still considered essential by New York, but showings cannot take place in-person, the state clarified on Thursday. In a notice to the New York State Association of Realtors, the Empire State Development earlier this week said home inspections, residential appraisals, back-office real estate work, and residential and commercial showings can continue during the coronavirus outbreak. But despite being newly categorized as essential, agents still cannot host traditional showings, as was previously reported.
March 9, 2020

With court decision delayed, broker fees live on (for now)

Real estate agents can continue to charge New York renters broker fees until at least June, Crain's reported. Last month, the state department updated a set of guidelines for last year's rent reform laws to prevent brokers who are hired by landlords from charging tenants a fee as part of the application process. Industry groups, including the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and a number of brokerages, filed a petition last month to stop the new rule, which resulted in a temporary restraining order. The office of  State Attorney General Letitia James on Friday asked for a three-month extension to respond to the lawsuit, pushing the court date from this week to June 12.
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February 11, 2020

Temporary restraining order rolls back broker fee ban

In an update made last week to the state's recent rent reform laws, the Department of State said real estate brokers hired by landlords could no longer charge tenants a fee. The ruling sparked a widespread backlash from the real estate industry, particularly rental brokers. In response, a group of industry representatives filed an Article 78 petition in Albany, which resulted in a temporary restraining order on Monday, The Real Deal reported. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and a number of high-profile brokerages have filed a lawsuit claiming the new guidance was an “unlawful, erroneous, and arbitrary” interpretation of the rent reform law passed in June and wreaked “havoc and confusion” on the industry. The restraining order means agents acting on behalf of landlords can collect a commission from tenants until further notice without fear of discipline by the DOS.
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September 16, 2019

Application fee for New York rentals officially capped at $20

New York officially capped the cost of applying for an apartment at $20, clearing up confusion over a key part of rent reform legislation passed earlier this summer. The Department of State announced on Friday that licensed real estate brokers and salespeople cannot charge more than $20 for a rental application, as Gothamist first reported. The DOS released a set of guidelines to help real estate professionals understand the new rent laws.
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July 16, 2019

NY real estate groups file lawsuit challenging new rent laws, calling them ‘unconstitutional’

A group of real estate groups and individual property owners filed a lawsuit Monday, challenging newly passed laws that strengthen rent and tenant protections in New York City. Last month, Democratic officials in Albany passed a landmark package of bills that close loopholes that have allowed landlords to increase rents and deregulate stabilized apartments. The lawsuit, filed by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and seven individual property owners, claims that the laws, as well as the entire rent regulation system, violate the 14th and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as reported by The Real Deal.
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June 13, 2019

Real Estate groups plan to file lawsuit if rent reform law passes

Real estate industry leaders say they will file a lawsuit against the state to challenge a package of bills containing changes to current rent regulations, which expire on June 15, the Observer reports. As 6sqft previously reported, the legislative package headed to both chambers for a vote this week contains landmark changes to current rent regulations aimed at strengthening New York’s rent laws and tenant protections. Industry stakeholders say they'll challenge the legislation on several points including one that makes the rules permanent, rather than having them expire every few years. The lawsuit would also challenge the retroactive nature of a provision to lower the amount landlords can charge for major capital improvements.
The industry fears 'disaster'
February 28, 2017

Mayor pulls Theater District air rights plan after disputes with City Council over floor price

Image via Wiki Commons The de Blasio administration pulled the plug Monday on proposed legislation that would give the city a 20 percent cut of any air rights sales in midtown Manhattan's Theater District, according to Crain's. The reversal followed disputes with City Council members over a key element–a floor price for the sales. The proposal had been part of a long effort to get theater owners to up the amount they contribute to a fund used for venue maintenance and support for smaller theaters. There is now speculation as to whether the move could cast a shadow on the administration's Midtown East rezoning plan, which is a similar policy initiative.
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February 7, 2017

City continues push to raise fee for Theater District air rights transfers

In November, the City Planning Commission voted to raise the cost of air rights transfers in the Theater District, allowing the city to take a 20 percent cut of any sales and establishing a minimum floor price of $346, a roughly 400 percent increase over the current $17.60 flat fee that they feel will be more in line with current property values. Despite vocal opposition from the Real Estate Board of New York, who back Theater District landlords and believe the increase is "is onerous, excessive and unfair," this month the Commission is hoping to have the proposal approved by the City Council, reports Crain's.
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November 17, 2016

City Planning Commission votes to raise fee for Theater District air rights transfers

The City Planning Commission has voted to up the cost of air rights transfers in the special Midtown Manhattan district that includes Broadway's theaters, The Real Deal reports. Currently, when developers purchase air rights from theaters between West 40th and West 57th Streets from Sixth to Eighth Avenues, they pay $17.60 per square foot to the Theater Subdistrict Fund. Transferable development rights can usually only be used for adjacent properties, but the city created the special district in 1998 to help the theater industry thrive amid sharply rising real estate prices; within the district, air rights can be moved more freely in a larger area outside the usual “arms length” restrictions.
What does this mean for Broadway theaters?
November 11, 2016

Cuomo’s revised 421-a plan will move ahead as REBNY and construction trades come to agreement

Ever since the city's 421-a tax exemption program expired in January, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) have been negotiating under what terms to extend and/or modify the program. Both groups took part in what the city believes were "secret talks" with Governor Cuomo over the summer, after which he released his proposal to revise 421-a with wage subsidies for construction workers. REBNY was concerned about this stipulation, claiming it would increase construction costs by up to 30 percent, but a press release sent yesterday evening reports that they've reached an agreement with the Trades Council to move ahead with Cuomo's version of the plan, which, in addition to setting a $60 hourly wage for qualifying projects in Manhattan and $45 in Brooklyn and Queens, extends the tax breaks up to 35 years (up from de Blasio's proposed 25 years) and mandates newly created affordable units be kept in place for 40 years.
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September 15, 2015

New Report Says Landmarked Districts Don’t Protect Affordable Housing

The war wages on between the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and citywide preservationists. Many thought the contention between the groups over whether or not historic districts lessen affordable housing was a personal sentiment of former REBNY president Steven Spinola. But his successor John Banks has released a new report that claims landmarking doesn't protect affordable housing. The report looks at the number of rent-stabilized units in landmarked and non-landmarked districts between 2007 and 2014, finding that "citywide, landmarked properties lost rent stabilized units (-22.5%) at a much higher rate (-5.1%) than non-landmarked properties." Of course preservationists quickly fired back. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) calls the study "bogus" and says it does nothing to address how many units would have been lost had these areas not been landmarked.
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March 16, 2015

5,484 Affordable Housing Units Could Be Lost if 421-a Abatement Isn’t Renewed, Says New Report

This morning the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) released a report today saying if the city fails to renew the existing 421-a partial tax exemption program, we could stand to lose thousands of affordable units. REBNY took a look at a sample of projects in the pipeline—including Essex Crossing, 5Pointz, Domino and Pacific Park, amongst others—and found that 421-a is responsible for 5,484 affordable apartments and 13,801 market-rate units in these developments. They argue that without the abatement the theses units would be in jeopardy and be "immediately be sent back to the drawing board." They add that some of the units could even end up as high-end luxury condominiums and some of the middle- and low-income housing now in the works would be lost forever.
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