The Search

Notable New Yorkers join push for broker fee bill ahead of City Council hearing

  • City Council Member Chi Ossé’s bill would require whoever hires a broker to pay their fee
  • Comedian Ilana Glazer came out in support of the bill last week in a video with Ossé
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
June 4, 2024 - 5:00PM
Block of old apartment buildings in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City NYC

The “Fairness in Apartment Rental Expenses (FARE) Act would require whoever hires a broker in NYC to pay for the broker’s services.


What unites a television star, a venture capitalist, and the creator of a niche New York City meme page? It’s the annoyance of having to pay a broker's fee.

A handful of notable New Yorkers have backed a bill, which would require whoever hires a broker to pay their fee, ahead of the bill’s City Council hearing on June 12th. But the opposition is organizing too: the Real Estate Board of New York plans to rally 1,500 agents against the legislation. Buckle up for an eventful Wednesday.

City Council Member Chi Ossé reintroduced his bill—dubbed the “Fairness in Apartment Rental Expenses (FARE) Act—on Feb. 29th, in his second attempt to require whoever hires a broker in NYC to pay for that broker’s services. Currently, tenants often pay a broker fee even if the landlord did the hiring. That means a hefty cost to the renter, considering a broker fee typically ranges from 12 to 15 percent of an apartment’s annual rent.

[Editor's note: Brick is following the hearing today. Go to @BrickU for updates.]

Comedians, capitalists, and meme connoisseurs 

Ossé has hit the streets—and social media—to get supporters to attend the bill’s hearing on June 12th at 10 a.m. One of those supporters is Ilana Glazer, a comedian and co-star of NYC-based comedy television series Broad City.

She threw her support behind Ossé’s bill through a video with the council member last week. 

“If we don’t get this bill passed New Yorkers will continue to pay one month, two months rent, 10, [or] 15 percent of your annual rent to a broker you never hired, maybe never even met,” Glazer said in the video, posted on Ossé’s X (Twitter), TikTok, and Instagram accounts.

Ilana Glazer waves to the crowd during the 2017 New York City Gay Pride Parade.

Ilana Glazer waves to the crowd during the 2017 New York City Gay Pride Parade.



It’s not just Glazer who has put their weight behind the FARE Act. Venture capitalist Bradley Tusk, CEO of Tusk Venture Partners, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Daily News last year lauding the bill as “the ​​first piece of meaningful legislation” he’s seen in three decades.

Now he plans to spend $25,000 to support the bill with an online campaign to get New Yorkers to lobby their local City Council members, Politico reported Monday. However, Tusk told Brick Underground that he may spend more than $25,000 if the mayor vetos the bill and he needs to keep up the campaign to encourage the council to override that veto. 

Tusk says he wants to raise awareness about the bill because he worries broker fees limit NYC’s ability to attract young, talented workers.

“I remember thinking when I was in my early 20s that somebody ought to do something about this and if I ever can I will,” Tusk said.“By insisting on this system of legalized theft, the only people who can afford to move here are bankers and management consultants. And sure that’s part of the economy—but it would be a very boring city if all we had was bankers and management consultants.”

And in a more niche endorsement: Alex Hartman, who skewers lux Manhattanites through niche Instagram account “Nolita Dirtbag,” recently plugged the hearing in an interview with HellGate. (He recommended that readers attend the hearing to “try and reform the 15 percent broker fee,” and simultaneously apologized for not suggesting a “cool pop-up.”) 

A social media bonanza

The endorsements are a part of Ossé’s broader social media campaign. The 26-year-old council member and his communications team, lead by director of communications Elijah Fox, have jumped on short-form videos to garner support to demonstrate the bill’s popularity to the City Council. 

“If there’s one thing that unites all New Yorkers, it’s the hatred of paying a forced broker fee,” Fox said. “It’s important to let the City Council know where the public stands.”

The bill currently has 31 co-sponsors, but it still needs to go through a hearing, vote, and then be put forth to Mayor Eric Adams before it can become law. Fox was confident that Ossé could get the bill passed this year thanks to stronger public support, including 35 advocacy organizations and three unions: the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, the New York State Nurses Association, and the city workers’ union DC37.

REBNY has also taken to social media to illustrate the organization’s opposition to the bill, and sent out an alert to its members in April to encourage them to rally against it on June 12th. 

Reggie Thomas, senior vice president of government affairs at REBNY, said the bill would raise rents and hurt brokers’ ability to make a living.

“The FARE Act will threaten the livelihood of hardworking brokers who on average make $52,000 their first year,” Thomas said in a statement. “Rental agents add significant value to the home search process for renters and we will fight for fair compensation for their hard work.”

Glazer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include commentary from Tusk and a statement from REBNY.

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.