Top 10 Things To Know About Hiring An Agent To Find Your Tenant

Many people pride themselves on finding an apartment in New York City without using a real estate agent.  Some think it is a money saver, while others think it is an easy task – and they may be right in some cases.  Are you thinking it’s just as cheap and easy to find a tenant? Think again!  You may be surprised to learn that when you are looking for a tenant for your apartment, in most cases it is always in your best interest to use a real estate agent.
However, you should understand that if you are looking to break your lease and find a tenant to take over the remaining months or to sign a new 12-month lease, you should first make sure you have your landlord’s approval. Without this, the process is a non-starter.  If you are considering using an agent, you also want to make sure the landlord will allow you to do so, as sometimes they want to use their own exclusive agents or may have other reasons for not allowing outside brokers to get involved. has a wide network of expert brokers we can refer to you who specialize in leasebreaks and short-term rentals.  We make the process simple!

First Step: Post to

Marketing a rental - especially a short-term rental - can be challenging.  Whether or not you decide to use an agent, posting your rental on should be the first step.  We are the only marketplace in New York City specializing in leasebreaks and short-term rentals.  Not only will your listing be featured on, but it will be featured on our weekly list of short-term rentals and leasebreaks, an email which goes out to thousands of prospective tenants and agents.  (Sign up to receive this free weekly list here:

Second Step: Hire an agent through the Leasebreak referral program

The next important consideration is hiring a real estate agent. It almost always makes sense to have an agent represent you.  When you post your apartment on, you can choose a plan (for free) that involves hiring an agent.  At, we started a program to refer highly qualified real estate agents who work for some of the best brokerage firms in the city, because we were getting so much demand from tenants like you who wanted to have agents help them in the process.  To find out more about this program, please email us at [email protected].
And now for the top 10 things to know:   

#1 Will This Cost Me Money?

No, it’s free!  Did we say free? There are not many things in life where you can get someone to work this hard for you at no cost to you.  How is that possible? Given the high demand and low supply of rental inventory in New York City, it is for the most part a “tenant-fee” market: the incoming tenant pays the broker’s fee.  Your broker gets rewarded and you get out of your lease sooner.  It’s a win-win situation. There is one caveat which you should be aware of. In a weaker market, sometimes the "landlord" (or "tenant" in a leasebreak situation) may be asked to contribute to the brokerage fee.  You are not required to do this, but sometimes it may be your best option to get the apartment rented as quickly as possible.  

#2 But Can't I Get Enough Exposure On & Other Websites?

Yes …. and …. No: YES, you will have significant exposure on  By putting your listing on our website, you will get very focused traffic for these kinds of listings.   Plus, we send out our weekly “Leasebreak list”  to thousands of real estate agents, tenants, and landlords (see above to sign up). BUT NO, you will miss a lot of the exposure in the real estate agent community if you are not in their internal databases, and agents tend to have very serious clients.  To get into those databases, you would have to sign an exclusive contract with a real estate agent.  (See misconception #3 about signing this contract.) However, our ultimate goal is for you to find a tenant to take over your lease.  To that end, what you really want is the powerful combination of being listed on PLUS making sure all of the real estate agents know about your apartment through their own internal databases.  We can refer you to a top qualified agent who specializes in “leasebreaks” and “short-term rentals” if you would like .  Our goal is to help you find someone to take over your lease as quickly as possible.  Simply email us at [email protected] for more details.

#3 Is It Stupid To Sign A Contract With An Agent?

An agent will ask you to sign a contract.  At this point, many people understandably take a step back and start to question the agent’s intentions.  This is totally normal.  However, without a signed contract, your apartment will be missing out on most of its possible exposure with the real estate agent community.  Note that if you are not going to sign a contract with an agent – known as an “exclusive” – you lose one of the main benefits of having an agent: getting maximum exposure for your listing.  Here’s why: The REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York: – an organization whose members consist of almost all New York City brokerage firms  – ensures that all of its member brokerage firms work together to disseminate all its “exclusive” listings to each other within 24 hours of a customer signing an exclusive agreement.  Brokers look at this database first when looking on behalf of their clients.  So when you sign an “exclusive” agreement with a real estate agent, almost every brokerage firm in New York City receives the listing in its listings database.   This guarantees that you have maximum exposure among real estate firms and real estate agents.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you read the contract very carefully and ask any questions.  These contracts are NOT necessarily standard contracts, and brokers will sometimes add custom language.  For example, check if there are any "termination fees" (very rare), and if so, only sign if you are comfortable with this type of arrangement.   

#4  What If I Don’t Want To Be Locked In With One Broker?

This is a reasonable fear, especially if you don’t know the agent well.  While it is true that they would be representing you exclusively, as mentioned above, the listing goes out to practically the entire real estate agent community.  Also, good agents are looking to build their businesses for the long term.  If something happens, and you need to get out of the contract, a compromise can almost always be worked out.  However, in order to help overcome this concern, you may want to try to negotiate an “out clause” or to shorten the length of the agreement.

#5  If I Get An Agent Involved, Do I Lose The Opportunity to Rent It Out Myself For No Fee?

If you are in a dire situation where you really need to get out of your lease, this is an understandable concern.  The last thing you want is to find someone on your own to take over your lease who doesn’t want to pay a broker’s fee.  If this is your situation, try to negotiate what is called “exclusive agency” into the contract with the agent.  This means that while the agent will be the only brokerage firm representing you, you can still find someone to take over your lease on your own.  Another idea would be to write a specific person into the lease as an “exclusion”, if you think there is a possibility that someone you had reached out to previously may decide to rent your apartment.  Good agents tend to understand that the most important thing for you is to find a tenant, and they will try to work with you. 

#6 If Most People Don't Want to Pay Broker Fees, Why Would I List With A Broker?  

Most apartments are listed with brokers, and due to the incredibly low vacancy rate in Manhattan, the majority of the rental pool is still paying brokerage fees.  The most serious renters are working with agents, which is why we have so many agents looking for short-term sublets on on behalf of their clients.  Remember, if this is a major worry for you, you can try to negotiate an exclusive agency, as explained above, so that you can still find a tenant on your own, and they will not have to pay a brokerage fee. 

#7 Why Can't I Market My Apartment As Well As An Agent Can? was designed to allow you to market your apartment yourself.  However, experienced rental agents are experts at knowing how to take pictures and write a description to get the most web traffic for your listing.  Most seasoned agents have posted hundreds of apartments online so they have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t.  We have many agents posting on behalf of their clients on

#8 Can't I Show My Apartment Myself? I Don't Need A Broker For That, Right? 

If you rely on your limited schedule to show your apartment, the traffic you receive will also be limited.   Renters want to look at apartments at all times during the day.  If they are working with a broker, they often see 5-10 apartments at a time.   If your apartment is not able to be seen on their schedule, it may never be considered by those prospective tenants.  You want to make sure your apartment can be seen frequently and at any time during the day.  It is time-consuming to show your apartment to prospective renters and work a full-time job.  Also, by allowing an agent to show your apartment, you put a buffer between you and prospective tenants in terms of negotiations and other issues relating to the apartment. 

#9 Why Can't I Just Qualify The Incoming Tenants and Negotiate Terms by Myself?

You may be one of those people who really enjoys do-it-yourself projects.  Do you know what makes someone a good renter?  Experienced rental agents can help qualify the incoming tenant.  They are experts at knowing who is qualified and who is not by asking the right questions and collecting the necessary paperwork.  The last thing you want is to sign a lease with an unqualified candidate, as the results can be disastrous.  A credit check should be run on all applicants, which is often done by the agent.  Even if the tenant has to submit an application directly to the landlord, it is still helpful to qualify these tenants in advance to avoid unexpected delay or disappointment due to rejection by the landlord.  Experienced agents can be a sounding board for all kinds of questions, help you negotiate with the incoming tenant and/or landlord, and quarterback the entire process from beginning to end, including signing leases with the new tenant. 

#10 What If My Landlord Won’t Allow Me To List With A Broker?

This could be the one legitimate reason why you may not be able to hire an agent to help you.  If your landlord is letting you out of your lease early, you should try to work with him or her.  If they say you can’t use a broker to help you because they already have an exclusive contract with another, or simply won’t allow you to have a broker represent you and show your apartment,  this may just be the reality of the situation.   However, the good news is that if the landlord has an “exclusive” with another broker,  your listing should be listed with most of the brokerage community.  This will go a long way to increasing the exposure on your apartment.    You often can still post your listing on and forward any inquiries to the exclusive broker, or ask them to post on our website. 

At, we strongly believe the fastest and most efficient way to find a tenant for your apartment is to use the powerful combination of marketing your apartment on plus hiring a real estate agent. 

To post your apartment on Leasebreak, click HERE

If you want us to refer a top real agent to you, please email us at [email protected]

We’re ready to help!


Breaking My Lease New York City OUR WEBSITE: The Leasebreak List


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