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 in New York City, 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 / 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."
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 personally involved in the Listings Project community. It also helps keep the cost of renting spaces lower than it otherwise would be and protects Listers from some of the more predatory elements of the real estate industry.
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. “The real estate industry in New York City is so competitive that many inequitable practices end up being the norm,” Director of Customer Experience Julia Ruiz said. “We want to make sure we can offer a space for small landlords and tenants to connect and make moving and renting more affordable without broker fees."
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 Community Agreements are pillars of these efforts, and everyone who uses Listings Project must agree to abide by the agreements set forth in this document. Sometimes, part of making Listings project an equitable and fair 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.
Brokers and spaces with broker fees for New York City-based listings
If you are a New York City broker or real estate agent, 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, 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. We accept listings from brokers or real estate agents outside of New York City, as long as they are no-fee listings.
Professional apartment managers for New York City-based listings
Professional apartment managers in New York City (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. We accept listings from property managers outside of New York City.
Developers for New York City-based listings
We do not allow New York City 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. We accept listings from developers outside of New York City.
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.
Emma McAleavy was Listings Project's Content Editor. During her tenure at Listings Project she brought the stories of our community to life on our blog and in our monthly newsletter. Emma’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Outside Magazine, and Architectural Digest. You can follow her on twitter @emmamcaleavy.