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No-fee apartment listings storm New York real estate

Market opens up to creative compensation for brokers

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New York City apartment rental listings have long been the domain of real estate brokers. Renters in many other housing markets across the country can expect to search for a place themselves without the need for professional help. But access to apartment listings has traditionally been controlled by brokers in New York, and renters can pay up to 15 percent of their first year's rent to the broker who landed them in their new digs. Within the past few years a new breed of apartment listing, the "no-fee listing," emerged in New York City as an alternative to the traditional 15 percent fee paid by consumers. These listings provided a much-needed post-Sept. 11 jolt to the city's rental market. With no-fee listings, a broker is typically paid a fee by the landlord rather than the renter, so "no-fee" is a misnomer. No-fee listings are a staple in the market now, and even top Manhattan brokerages use them. Brokerages will in some cases use a combination fee program in which they accept part ...