Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Important Administrative Decision - Bedbugs in NYC

In DOS v. Fletcher, a real estate broker was charged with incompetency and untrustworthiness for acting as a landlord's agent and failing "to assure that their client provided [the tenant] with the bed bug infestation history" for the unit.

As background, the Administrative Tribunal was addressing New York City's Administrative Code at §27-2018.1(a), which states:

For housing accommodations subject to this code, an owner shall furnish to each tenant signing a vacancy lease, a notice in a form promulgated or approved by the state division of housing and community renewal that sets forth the property's bedbug infestation history for the previous year regarding the premises rented by the tenant and the building in which the premises are located.

According to the Department of State, the "act of omission was a violation of the respondents' obligation to deal fairly and openly with a prospective renter."

Moving forward, all New York City Landlord's Agents MUST assure that their landlords provide the bedbug disclosure to avoid being charged with a license law violation.

Important Administrative Decision - Craigslist Advertisements

In DOS v. Paramonov, a licensed real estate salesperson was charged with engaging "in false and or misleading advertising for rental properties" by listing "apartments in the 'no fee' category" of Craigslist because "he did not have enough money to post advertisements in the broker's section of the website."

The respondent was fined for his dishonest and misleading advertisements.

Moving forward, real estate salespersons need to remember that their advertisements must be completely aboveboard. If there is a broker's section of a website, the real estate salesperson must utilize it at all times in order to comply with their license law.

Commission Rates in Real Estate Brokerage are Discretionary to the Broker and Property Owner

A Lieb School student recently took a final exam for our Conflicts of Interest ONLINE course and explained how commission rates are set by the Department of State.

They are NOT.

In fact, the Department of State says the following about commission rates:

Commission Rates

The commission or compensation of a real estate broker is not regulated by statute or regulation, therefore the amount and terms are negotiable. A real estate broker shall never offer a property for sale or lease without the authorization of the owner. Therefore, prior to the listing or marketing of a client’s real property, it is incumbent upon the real estate broker and the client to mutually agree on a reasonable rate of compensation. 

As a result, real estate salespersons and property owners should carefully negotiate commission rates where they also set the consideration that the real estate brokerage will provide to the property owner in exchange for higher or lower rates. To illustrate, a real estate brokerage that is willing to create a video about the property should be able to demand a higher rate than a real estate brokerage who will not create any digital advertising.