Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

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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Policy, real estate trends

Photo courtesy of CityRealty

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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Policy, real estate trends

Temporary restraining order rolls back broker fee ban

By Michelle Cohen, Tue, February 11, 2020

Photo by Rachel Martin on Unsplash

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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Policy, real estate trends

New York renters no longer have to pay broker fees

By Devin Gannon, Thu, February 6, 2020

Photo by Rachel Martin on Unsplash

Renters in New York will no longer have to pay a broker fee when they lease an apartment, the state ordered Tuesday. In an updated set of guidelines for last year’s rent reform laws, the state department said real estate brokers hired by landlords “cannot be compensated by the prospective tenant.” While brokers can still charge a fee, landlords are now responsible for paying it, according to the revised rules. However, if a renter hires a broker to find apartments on their behalf, a fee can be collected.

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Photo courtesy of CityRealty

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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New rent laws leave ambiguity over application fee cap

By Devin Gannon, Tue, September 3, 2019

Via Creative Commons

Some real estate brokers in New York City continue to charge prospective renters more than $20 for application fees despite a new state law that prohibits landlords from doing so. The new measure, passed in June by state lawmakers as part of a major rent reform package, says a “landlord, sub-lessor or grantor” cannot charge applicants more than $20 for background and credit checks. But, as the New York Times reported on Monday, the language of the law does not specifically include brokers.

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Brooklyn, maps, real estate trends

Brooklyn Williamsburg Map

A hilarious new map on Reddit pokes fun at real estate brokers’ tendency to stretch the truth to when it comes to an apartment’s proximity to desirable Williamsburg. Here, Coney Island is South-SouthSouth Williamsburg, East New York is South EastWilliamsburg, but only a tiny little triangle in Brownsville gets a reprieve from the hipster treatment as it’s dubbed simply “nope.”

Though the map is purely for satirical purposes, it’s based in a realistic trend of neighborhoods taking on ridiculous monikers only to entice unassuming apartment seekers. Think Quooklyn‘s plea to turn Queens in Brooklyn or the fact that Roosevelt Island, a completely free-standing island, is more often than not marketed as the Upper East Side.

[Via Gothamist]



robin lyon-gardiner, national anthem singer

In our new feature Before They Were Brokers we catch up with New York’s top real estate pros who, in a previous life, did things you would have never guessed. Read on for their fun and quirky stories.

Some follow in their successful family’s footsteps, be it the Trumps, the Zeckendorfs or perhaps, the Rudins or Dursts — but others grow up with thoughts of following a career path that lands them in the field of medicine, education, and quite often — show business. Of course there are the “naturally destined” individuals who spent a good part of their childhood prodigiously playing Monopoly and considered flipping their backyard playhouse at a profit.

Take Robin Lyon-Gardiner, who at the age of 16, saw her first musical and immediately decided to prepare herself for stardom on Broadway. Armed with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater from Syracuse University that included a semester in London to enhance her musical endeavors, it wasn’t long before Robin began snagging roles in some The Great White Way’s most famous musicals on the planet, including the Tony Award-winning “A Chorus Line”.

More on Robin’s fascinating past here

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Celebrities, Features, Interviews, People

Tom Postilio, Mickey Conlon, core, core group, brokers nyc, real estate brokers, hgtv real estate

No need to rub your eyes, if Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon look familiar, it’s probably because you’ve spent a season watching them run around Manhattan showing multi-million dollar properties to some of the world’s richest. The pair, who also share a Broadway past, were one of the first to bring real estate reality television to the masses with HGTV’s hugely popular Selling New York. But there’s more to Tom and Mickey than their stage sheen.

To date, the “Dream Team” has brought in over a $1.5 billion dollars in sales at CORE, securing the firm’s spot as the #1 brokerage in town, and earning themselves CORE’s 2013 Top Producer Award while at it. Charismatic and capable, it comes as no surprise that Tom and Mickey are a prime pick amongst developers and celebs looking for record-breaking results (David Sanborn, Lady Gaga, Jim Carey and Joan Collins are just a few of the names that make up their roster). We recently chatted with the powerhouse pair who gave us the scoop on everything from their first sales, to bringing what they learned on Broadway to the real estate business, to one of their most memorable closings involving a 7-foot fiberglass replica of the Statue of Liberty!

Read our interview with the dynamic duo here

Featured Story

Features, Interviews, People

Siim and Rudi Hanja

It’s hard not to become a jaded New Yorker when it comes to real estate. We’ve been duped by phony listing pictures, stood up at a random addresses by our brokers, and probably watched a little too much of the soap opera-like Million Dollar Listing. But it’s not all Photoshopped specs and inter-agency drama — something I quickly learned during my interview with Siim and Rudi Hanja, a father/son broker team at Brown Harris Stevens who are passionate about their careers, connection to downtown, and their relationship with each other.

Siim Hanja has been a SoHo and Tribeca resident for the past 40 years. He’s considered an expert on the downtown residential market, and much of his client base includes people involved with the arts. He raised his daughter and son Rudi in SoHo, a neighborhood he is still proud to call home. Rudi was first introduced to real estate when he was around ten years old, filing papers at a small, boutique brokerage that Siim owned. After graduating from Boston University, Rudi took a summer job with the sales and marketing team at 120 Greenwich Street, where he worked with the exclusive broker and closed the final 30% of sales in the condo building. He then went on to work at another major real estate firm in the city until he and Siim decided to begin working together at Brown Harris Stevens.

Find out what team Hanja has to say


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