Behind the List

Who’s Allowed and Who’s Not Allowed to Post on Listings Project

By Emma McAleavy
November 20, 2020

For decades moving in New York City has meant contending with onerous broker fees. These fees, which are usually 12-15% of the annual rent, are paid by the tenant. In other cities across the country, the broker fee, if there is one, is paid by the landlord. Despite the prevalence of brokers fees Listings Project is a broker-free zone in New York City (in other locations we do allow brokers at this time).

But from the very earliest days of Listings Project, founder and CEO Stephanie Diamond was clear: she would not be sharing spaces represented by brokers or with broker fees attached. “Morally I don’t think tenants should be charged broker fees,” Stephanie said of her reason for keeping brokers off Listings Project. "I don't agree with the way New York City passes the brokers fees on to tenants."

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State lawmakers appear to share that point of view. Last year they passed the Housing Security & Tenant Protection Act, which, among other things, stipulated the landlords, not tenants, would have to pay broker fees. That portion of the law has been disputed in court. But to the extent that it is in effect, brokers quickly found ways to get around the law.

Regardless of where things end with the Housing Security & Tenant Protection Act, Listings Project will always be a guaranteed broker-free space in New York City. “We have a zero broker policy,” Stephanie said. 

This policy is part of what makes Listings Project so special, helping us ensure that the lister offering the space is intimately involved with the community. It also helps keep the cost of renting spaces lower than it otherwise would be and protects listers from some of the more unscrupulous elements of the real estate industry. 

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Over the years, as Listings Project has grown, we’ve had to adapt our “zero broker policy” to include any third party and other real estate professionals as well, like professional property managers and developers. “It’s nothing against people who work in the real estate industry,” community manager Mahayla Laurence said. “But allowing real estate professionals on Listings Project would be a disservice to a community of people who are just looking to find somewhere affordable to live.”

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Because our policies are so unique for the real estate industry we work hard to be very transparent and clear with listers about who is allowed and who is not allowed to post on Listings Project. Before anyone can post a space in New York City they have to confirm that they are not a real estate broker, property manager or developer or other third party. We also carefully vet each listing, to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. On the rare occasion that someone attempts to post with us who should not, our community managers remove the listing and notify the lister.

Beyond the four categories we prohibit, which are listed below, Listings Project works to make sure our policies and processes foster an inclusive and equitable community. Our equity and inclusion statement is the backbone of these efforts, and everyone who uses Listings Project must agree to it. Sometimes, part of making Listings project an equitable and safe space means removing and blocking listers whose behavior is contrary to our equity and inclusion policies. In these cases, as with all of our policies, our priority is protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.

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Prohibited Individuals and Listings Types


Brokers and spaces with broker fees 
If you are a broker you cannot post on Listings Project, even if the space you are sharing is not one that you are representing as a broker, for example your own home or rental. Additionally, we do not allow spaces that have broker fees attached, or that are represented by a broker, even if the person posting the listing is not the broker. In other words, to post your space on Listings Project you must not be a broker and your space must not in any way be represented by a broker or have a broker fee attached to it. 

Professional apartment managers
Professional apartment managers (that is, someone who is paid to manage more than one unit in a full or part-time capacity) are not allowed to post on Listings Project. To ensure that postings are transparent and that listers have access to their landlords, we require the person who owns the space or is leasing the space to post the listing and to act as the primary point of contact for the listing. 

Developers 
We do not allow real estate developers to post on Listings Project. Apartments in newly developed buildings are often more expensive to rent than apartments in buildings that have been a part of the city for longer. While we do allow listers who already live in these buildings to use Listings Project to find roommates or subletters, we don’t allow the developers themselves to post on Listings Project. 

Third Parties 
We do not allow listers to post listings on behalf of other people. You must be the leaseholder or the owner of a space in order to post it on Listings Project. This policy helps us maintain transparency about the spaces and ensures that everyone involved in the transaction is intimately connected to the space.



Feature image by Alexis Nunnelly


Emma McAleavy, our Writer/Content Manager, works to bring the stories of our community to life. Emma’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail and Outside Magazine. You can follow her on twitter @emmamcaleavy.

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