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NYC Residential Real Estate Agents Fight Intro 1423, Proposed Rental Commission Cap
"By cutting our commissions, Intro 1423 would threaten our livelihood"
May 6, 2019
Residential real estate agents throughout New York City are pushing back against a proposed City Council bill that would have a significant negative impact on New York City renters and the residential real estate market.
By preventing residential real estate agents from “collecting fees from prospective tenants that are above the value of one month’s rent”, Intro 1423’s goal to make New York more affordable would instead punish hardworking middle-class New Yorkers who work tirelessly to help other New Yorkers find and rent their homes.
Since this misguided legislation was proposed, real estate agents—who are parents, artists, and entrepreneurs trying to make a living to provide for their families—have voiced their concerns about the bill and are calling on City Council members to listen to their stories.
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“As a single mom, these commissions are my livelihood,” said real estate agent Ellen Cohen, resident of the Upper West Side represented by Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “We work tremendously hard to protect our customers and our clients. Rental opportunities take time, a lot of legwork, and large quantities of paperwork. We take the time to study neighborhoods, customers’ needs and to identify situations that work best.”
“This city council bill would threaten my family's livelihood,” said actor and real estate agent Michael Bakkensen, resident of Washington Heights represented Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “I am a professional actor who has also had many odd jobs to support myself for over two decades in the city. After the birth of my daughter four years ago I needed a job with flexibility that would not take me far from my family."
Michael Bakkensen continued: “It was really, really tough at first, but as I developed an expertise in the field and learned my neighborhood like the back of my hand I began to earn a living. It took a lot of hard work, many vertical miles of stairs climbed and a lot of lessons learned.”
"We have to provide for our family just like everyone else,” said real estate agent Candice Mohammed of Richmond Hill, at the crossroads of Queens represented by Council Members Adrienne Adams, Karen Koslowitz, and Eric Ulrich. “To put a limit to what we make is not the way to go.”
“Being new to the industry (since October) I see how tough it is being an agent,” Candice Mohammed continued. "I’ve met countless people who live in Manhattan and still don’t understand the steps required to obtain a rental. That’s where we come in."
"Intro 1423 would cause significant financial hardship to thousands of agents like myself,” said real estate agent Rodrigo Guerreiro De Faria, resident of the Upper West Side represented by Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “For the last 3 years, I have worked nearly 24/7 as we are always on call. Working on commission is very stressful, and I went months without any income. I can easily say that if it wasn't for my wife's financial support, I could not be doing this job."
Rodrigo Guerreiro De Faria continued: “From when I passed my test in April 2016, many agents who started this career with me have already moved on as they simply couldn't afford to survive in the industry."
"I am an artist and real estate agent working in upper Manhattan (Harlem to the Bronx). I chose to work in these areas because I get to help people find affordable housing,” said artist and real estate agent Shanna Sharp, resident of Mott Haven, Bronx represented by Council Member Diana Ayala.
"I do not just open a door. I make a path. And that path takes research, planning, experience and skill that I have honed over the past eight years as an agent,” said Shanna Sharp. “Like everyone, my service comes at a price. This is how I survive and support my family.”
By cutting their commissions, these agents have voiced that Intro 1423 would threaten their livelihood. If passed, Intro 1423 will harm the people the bill intends to help.
REBNY is closely monitoring the legislation and making its opposition known to the City Council. REBNY is encouraging members and community members to contact their local council member (council.nyc.gov/districts) to express their concerns about Intro 1423 and protect New Yorkers’ ability to earn a living.