Anyone who has choked back sobs clicking through stacks of fish-eye'd photos of tiny radiators, or grits their teeth at the phrase "NO FEE," or has begged a total stranger to take their check for $5,000, knows that renting an apartment in New York City is a cruel farce.
Today the Times reported on a new crop of smartphone apps seeking to "disrupt" the morass of lies with "concierges" and Tinder-esque interfaces, but the real estate industry smells another middleman at the trough.
“I appreciate the ingenuity, but I haven’t seen many of these companies take hold,” said Gary L. Malin, the president of Citi Habitats, a New York brokerage that specializes in rentals. “Because the system, as it is now, works.”
Even the seemingly draconian broker fees make sense, Mr. Malin said. The broker fee pays for a trained professional supported by a back office staff that files paperwork and vets listings. Despite what many renters believe, “no one’s job is simply opening a door,” he said.
"What's wrong with the system?" wonders the man sitting on a greasy pile of cash.
Citi Habitats—the fourth-largest brokerage firm in Manhattan, a division of The Corcoran Group, which is part of NRT LLC, the country's largest real estate brokerage company—recently acquired apartmentsandlofts.com, the good people behind the "Bushwick Frontier" luxury rental building and the luxury Chad Castle at 50 North 5th. May they spawn many $3,000/month junior one-bedrooms in Quooklyn.
In a completely unrelated story, the members of the Real Estate Board of New York (Gary Malin is one!) gave $21.7 million to state politicians during the last election cycle, including $5.9 million to Governor Cuomo, representing just a fraction of the industry's donations to city and state politicians.
And here's a nice $5,000/month one-bedroom in the heart of Bed-Stuy. The system works!