Why Renting an Apartment in NYC Sucks

The Verge has a great story about New York apartment rentals and a new startup that is trying to disrupt the market.

“The dream that you can remake the apartment rental market here is a siren song that has crushed many an able-bodied startup,” says Lockhart Steele, founder of the real estate site Curbed.”

More interesting than the startup is the overview of the current state of apartment rentals in the city—and why it’s so impossible to find a place. “Too much fraud, too expensive, and requires way too much time and energy,” are the explicit reasons, and here’s where they come from:

• New York doesn’t require all available properties to be publicly listed (which allows brokers to have monopolies on some properties and prevents transparency)

• A third of listings on Craigslist are fake (“Bait-and-switch brokers sucker clients in with promises of spaces that have already been rented, then try to upsell them on a different location.”)

• Online aggregators like Zillow and StreetEasy have helped consumers find listings, but “once you find a place you like, these search sites just pass you off to a random broker, with no guarantee of honest service.”

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