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.
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.
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.
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.
Eviction proceedings have been halted until further notice in response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York officials announced Sunday. Effective Monday at 5 p.m., all proceedings and pending eviction orders will be suspended across the state, according to a memo written by New York’s Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks.
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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.
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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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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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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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.