Realtors Rental Commission - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Realtors Rental Commission

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When some people look for a rental place, they use a realtor who then gets paid a commission. But one South Florida family paid the realtor, didn't move into the apartment and now the realtor is keeping the commission. Can they do that? It's why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- Steve spent four years in the United States Navy. Odia is currently with the Coast Guard in Miami Beach, but they didn't meet on the water, they crossed paths in a New York City restaurant.

Steve McLaughlin: "She came in one day to see her sister. When she left I asked her sister, 'Who was that?' and she said, 'Who?' and I said, 'The woman who just left.' And she said, 'Oh, that's my sister.'"

They fell in love, got married and today have three little girls. Not surprisingly, they need a little more room.

Steve McLaughlin: "Bare necessities is two bedrooms, two bathrooms. Three bedrooms would be perfect.

With the help of a realtor, they found an apartment that seemed perfect.

Steve McLaughlin: "Miami Beach was right there where she worked. The school district was rated really high and the rent was comparable to what we were paying now."

The realtor required $1,700, $850 for the commission, the other $850 to go to the apartment owner. While they got the place ready.

Steve McLaughlin: "Carpet needed to be done. The walls needed to be painted. There were appliances in the kitchen that needed to be fixed or replaced."

They signed this lease then gave the property manager another $1,700 and started to move in.

Steve McLaughlin: "And nothing was done. Actually carpet was in worse condition than when we had seen it."

Steve says he could not move his family into an apartment that wasn't ready so he asked the property manager to be let out of the lease. He says she agreed.

Steve McLaughlin: "The property manager cut us a check for $1,700 and she told us that she couldn't give us the other the rest of the money because they hadn't received it from the realtor."

Steve called the realtor to get his other $1,700 back.

Steve McLaughlin: "He was entitled to his commission and he wasn't giving us anything."

Steve says he should get the $850 that was supposed to go to the landlord since their apartment wasn't ready, and get back the $850 commission the realtor kept because he didn't find a place for them to move into.

Steve McLaughlin: "If he had held me up, I would. I can go to the cops, but since this was done through you know, contracts, he has my money and there is nothing I can do about it."

Or Howard, legally is there something he can do about it?

Howard Finkelstein: "If the apartment was not ready, Steve is entitled to get all his money back. But at the same time, the realtor who found the unit gets his $850 commission and the landlord has to pay it, but if the apartment was ready and Steve backed out the deal, he has to pay the $850 commission. In other words, whoever was to blame for the deal falling thru has to pay the realtor's commission."

I first spoke to the real estate broker. He told me he would give Steve $850 that was meant for the landlord, but he was keeping the other $850 as his commission because he was told the apartment was ready and Steve backed out of the deal.

I then called the property manager who sided with the realtor saying the apartment was ready to be moved into and Steve backed out of the deal.

Meaning, Steve has to pay the realtors $850 commission.

Steve McLaughlin: "I feel good. I appreciate the help."

Steve says the apartment was not fit for his family to move into but he has his $850 plus the other $1,700 in hand, as he looks for a place for his wife and kids.

Steve McLaughlin: "Yes, I am extremely happy I called Help Me Howard. I really appreciate it."

Patrick Fraser: "Since the landlord normally has to pay the realtors commission, it's to your advantage to use a realtor to find a house because they do the work for you. Of course, if you back out of the deal after they find a place for you, you have to pay their commission. Things to know if you are looking for a place to live."

Had a problem so long you feel like you own it? Wanna deposit it somewhere else? Contact us.

We'll try to give you a new lease on life, with no commission of course.

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