Rental listings in New York City increasingly come with some kind of deal. In fact, Douglas Elliman's April rental market report showed that about half of all apartments in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens are renting with some sort of concession in an effort to fill more expensive apartments without actually lowering the rent.
This could take the form of the landlord offering a month or a few months' rent free, and/or “OP,” which means the landlord is offering to pay the broker's fee, as in “owner pays.”
“This means the listing comes with ‘no fee’ to the renter if he/she rents directly through the exclusive agent,” says Jed Wilder of Citi Habitats.
But like most things in life, nothing is really free. While lots of people want a no-fee apartment (check out Brick Underground's 8 best websites for finding a no-fee apartment), Wilder explains how this practice benefits landlords.
“The tenant is certainly getting a benefit by not paying the fee. However, there are instances where the owner offers an OP strictly to obtain higher pricing. In this case, while it can be financially beneficial for the renter to save the 15 percent broker fee, they need to be careful on the renewal. The rent will be much higher for years two, three and four if they stay since they are beginning at a higher number,” he says.
Jacob Henderson of Citi Habitats describes this as a marketing tool.
“It’s designed to create a sense of value around an apartment—and make it more appealing to prospective renters," he says. “OPs are frequently found in new developments, as the goal is to get the building fully occupied with paying tenants as soon as possible.”
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