"Craigslist Rental Scam Leaves Family Without a Home"

Source: Credit.com, Christine DiGangi, March 31, 2015

"A Florida family appears to be the victim of a Craigslist rental scam, in which they rented a home that was not actually for rent. It was a bank-owned foreclosure that sat vacant for a few months, but someone reportedly advertised it for rent, eventually getting more than $2,000 in rent money from a woman and her boyfriend, WESH-TV reports.

The woman says she saw the three-bedroom house listed for $1,200 a month on Craigslist, so she contacted the landlord and took a tour of the property. She and her boyfriend signed a lease, paid $2,400 in cash and received a receipt for the transaction. A day after the woman and her baby moved in, a real estate agent came to show the house.

Gary Camarda, the real estate agent, told Orlando’s WESH-TV this happens often. “It goes on all the time. A house sits, like this house, for four months vacant. Somebody comes along, sees it, comes in, takes some pictures and puts an ad on Craigslist advertising it for rent,” Camarda told the TV station. “It’s disgusting. I can’t believe people are doing this to innocent people. This is a young couple with a baby.”

The family must vacate the home, and the woman said they lost all their money when they paid the false rent in cash. Craigslist can be a helpful resource for renters, but consumers should be sure to research the ads and browse with a bit of suspicion. There are certainly good deals to be had, but you should look at rental rates in the area and be wary of a landlord demanding a large cash payment upfront."

*BOTTOM LINE - Beware of Craigslist rental scams throughout Israel! Finding a rental apartment in Israel (especially Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) requires an honest apartment-finding company. Before you start searching for a new apartment, please understand that the common, standard practice in Israel is an Agent fee or commission of "1 month's rent." Our company proudly charges 20-25% LESS than 1 month's rent. We guarantee a professionally cleaned apartment and our unique apartment-search style is customized to each Client's specific needs. 

Apartment rental prices in Israel see 60% rise in past decade

Source: Ynetnews.com, December 27,2014

From 2004, average monthly rent rose from NIS 2,295 to 3,680.

In Tel Aviv, apartment rental prices skyrocketed by 72% in six years.

"Apartment rental prices in Israel have skyrocketed in the past several years, according to figures released by the Housing Ministry, as an increasing number of couples say they can't afford to pay the costs of housing. The report shows that rental prices have gone up by an average of approximately 58% from 2008 to September 2014 – considerably higher than the consumer price index. The situation is worse in Tel Aviv, where rental prices increased by 72% over the past six years.

According to the Housing Ministry's figures, the average rent for apartments in Tel Aviv was NIS 2,749 per month. The following eight years saw a moderate increase in prices, with the average rental price at NIS 3,277 per month in 2008. Since then, the price has gone up to NIS 5,643 on average per month.

The following data refers to the average rent for apartments of all sizes:

In Tel Aviv, the rental price for a small apartment (1.5-2 rooms) is NIS 3,984 per month. Average rent for a bigger apartment (2.5-3 rooms) is NIS 4,954. Those renting a 4.5-5 room apartment pay no less than NIS 8,200 on average.

In Jerusalem, rental prices for apartment have risen more moderately, with a smaller leap of 48% in the past six years. In 2008, the average price of an apartment in the capital stood at NIS 2,688 - today it stands at approximately NIS 4,000 per month. The average rental price for a 1.5-2 room apartment in Jerusalem is NIS 2,884 per month. Rent for apartments with 3.5-4 rooms is NIS 4,510 – almost the same price as a 2-room apartment in Tel Aviv."

I believe tenants should never have to pay a broker's fee when renting a new apartment

Source: reddit.com

"I live in NYC where moving to a new apartment often requires payment to a real estate broker who literally does nothing for me except open the front door so I can see the apartment before I decide to move in. For this invaluable service they charge me 15% of one year's rent. Rent prices being what they are this is not an insignificant amount of money.

There are many websites for me to find apartments I'm looking for and very rarely does the broker do anything to help me find an apartment. However the listings on various websites are often posted by a broker so I still have to go through them sometimes.

It seems to me whatever value the broker's service is providing is not for my benefit but rather the landlord's benefit. The broker is taking the time of showing the inventory to prospective customers, vetting their income requirements and so forth. If the landlord finds this service helpful they should pay this fee, not me.

There's a few side effects of this stupid broker's fee. One is that it reduces the amount of rent I can pay initially. It also affects how much new furniture I can afford. It also makes it prohibitive for me to move since I need a large sum of cash saved up before every move. This allows the owner to start jacking up the rent after the lease expires even when market prices have remained stagnant. This almost always happens. This year my rent went up $75 even though there have been no improvements to the property and from what I can tell rent prices elsewhere seem to have remained relatively constant.

I haven't ever purchased real estate so I'm not sure if their service is more valuable for those types of transactions although I'm inclined to believe it's not really necessary for that either. In general it seems to me that real estate brokers are an obsolete job. Sort of like travel agents. The internet has eliminated the need for this job since both tenants and landlords can post and browse the available inventory and initiate the transaction from there. They should not be leeching off me every time I move and I think the money they are extracting for a useless service is excessive and harms the economy overall." -CMV


REDDIT is a platform for internet communities. This post is from *September 2014*

Beaten Down By Broker Fees

Source: New York Times, "Ask Real Estate", January 23, 2014

QUESTION: *I moved to the New York City metropolitan area from Washington about a year ago. I cannot understand why broker fees are passed on to the **renter, rather than paid by the landlord. In all other places I have lived, landlords either list the property themselves or pay a broker to list it for them. Passing the broker fee on to the renter makes it very difficult for a young professional like me not to just want to pack up and go back to where it is easier to find a place to live. *

-Mount Sinai, New York

ANSWER: You are not the only one who resents writing a check to someone who might have done little more than unlock the door for you. Brokers often charge renters a fee of 15 percent of the annual rent, which comes to $5,400 for a $3,000-a-month apartment — a steep price for moving. Why don’t landlords pay the fee? Simply put, they don’t have to. With vacancy rates under 3 percent in Manhattan, renters have no choice but to pay. In Suffolk County, your neck of the woods, the situation isn’t much better. In fact, average rent was $2,525 a month in November, up almost 11 percent from a year ago, according to Zillow. Rising rents might help explain why the broker-fee tradition has spread to the suburbs, too. “It’s really detrimental to the wallet, especially for young professionals,” said Stephanie Diamond, who created a no-fee listing service called the Listings Project when she tired of paying broker’s fees. There are ways to avoid paying. New developments often waive the broker fee, but these apartments usually include a luxury price tag. If you are open to sharing an apartment, search roommate listings instead: an apartment that has already been rented to someone else will not have a fee. There are also several websites that list no-fee apartments. The pickings might be slim, but good finds do exist. “You will not have access to every apartment,” said Mark Sperry, the vice president of Urban Edge, a website that lists no-fee apartments in the New York area. “But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find an apartment in your price range.”

*This was quoted from "Ask Real Estate" a weekly online column that answers questions from across the New York region.*

Germany Seeks to Shift the Broker-Fee Burden: Legislation Would Shift Fees From Renters to Landlord

To rent a new apartment, prospective tenants usually pay the agent a cash fee equal to two months' rent. 

"It kind of stung, because I really didn't feel like [the broker] did anything to deserve that money. I'm calling everywhere, I'm running around. It was ridiculous," the 35-year-old Ms. Blake said.  After Ms. Blake got the keys, she said the agent invited her for a cup of coffee to celebrate. "At the end, the bill came, and she didn't pay for my coffee—I literally just paid her dozens of hundred-euro [bills] and I had to pay for my own latte!"