One of StreetEasy’s harshest critics plans new rental website

Frēlē will take REBNY's listing feed

Apr.April 10, 2018 02:30 PM

Phil Horigan and frēlē

One of StreetEasy’s most outspoken critics is taking on Zillow with a new rental platform in New York City.

Phil Horigan, who launched in 2013, is rolling out a “comprehensive” and free rental marketplace at frēlē.com, he said. Horigan is not pulling the plug on Leasebreak — a popular website that connects tenants looking for renters to take over their lease — but frēlē will target a broader swath of the market.

The former Corcoran Group agent said he decided to launch the site as a matter of principle after StreetEasy began charging agents $3 a day to post listings last year. “I don’t fault any broker for putting a listing on StreetEasy,” he said. But, he added, that doesn’t mean they should have to.

“Can David take on the Goliath?” he asked. “I think so.”

Currently, Leasebreak has more than 8,000 listings on its website — including many that are generated by tenants looking for a renter to take over their lease. Frēlē will have those listings and thousands more by accepting the syndicated listings feed from the Real Estate Board of New York. The short-term leases available on both of Horigan’s sites will be a “differentiator” for frēlē in an increasingly-competitive rental market.

Since REBNY launched its syndicated RLS feed last summer, a slew of companies have rushed into the space, including, which is upping its game in New York City. Analytics site recently became a portal, and The Real Deal is also launching a portal.

StreetEasy, which has declined to take REBNY’s feed, declined to comment for this article.

“The RLS has definitely leveled the playing field,” said Horigan, who pointed out that it took StreetEasy several years to convince the city’s residential firms to share their listings. “Now the RLS is allowing you to just plug into the listings. The barrier to entry just dropped to zero.”

Like Leasebreak, frēlē will have a freemium model. It will be free to post and search for listings, but agents and renters can pay for extras. For example, agents can buy renter leads for $15 each. Agents can also buy leads to tenants who want help marketing their apartments. Listing leads will cost between $10 and $20 a piece, based on the duration of the lease, neighborhood and rent.

In a blog post Tuesday, Horigan laid out a four-point pledge to users, including a promise to remain free and to never sell the website to Zillow.

Related Articles

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon on the evolution of the residential data game — and how to stay competitive in the new world

Big Tech locations in NYC

MAP: Here’s a look at all the Big Tech locations in NYC

What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?

What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?

Future City 2020

The best party story from Future City’s beach dinner

CEO Andrew Florance (Credit: CoStar via YouTube)

CoStar sees net income jump 32% in year marked by acquisitions

(Illustration by Dave Murray)

The squeeze on resi brokerages is forcing consolidation, cooperation

From left: 55 East 74th Street, 9 East 82nd Street, 1 Central Park South, 78 Irving Place with Adam Neumann and 111 West 57th Street (Credit: StreetEasy, Wikipedia, Getty Images)

Adam Neumann’s triplex, Russians’ Plaza pad were priciest homes listed last week

3 East 69th Street and 252 East 57th Street 

With asking prices in freefall, luxury market sees strong week