The Real.Est List
Rent Coach: Broker fee confusion
Q. I recently applied for an apartment with a broker, but lost the unit to another applicant. It was an open listing. I found a different apartment in the same building, but it’s listed with a different broker.
Is it all right for me to reach out and apply for this second apartment with the other broker or would I be violating the brokerage fee agreement that I signed with my first agent?
A. An open listing means that any agent can advertise the listing and bring their client directly to the landlord or management company. There is no listing broker, and the fact that one agent advertises a property does not entitle them to be involved in its rental.
If the first apartment you saw was indeed an open listing, then it is likely that the other available unit in the building is also an open listing that your first broker can show you as well. You would need to review the fee agreement that you signed to know if you would incur the brokerage commission by renting in the building through another broker. Many fee agreements require you to pay the broker a fee if you rent an apartment in a building they brought you to within a certain period of time.
Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. He is also the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.