The Daily Dirt: Meanwhile in Massachusetts, broker fee shift gains steam

Senate passes measure similar to NYC’s controversial bill

Council member Chi Ossé and REBNY's Jim Whelan with the Massachusetts State House (Getty, Whelan by Studio Scrivo)
Council member Chi Ossé and REBNY's Jim Whelan with the Massachusetts State House (Getty, Whelan by Studio Scrivo)

Massachusetts may force landlords to pay the brokers they hire. 

The state Senate on Thursday approved a $5.4 billion bond bill packed with housing policies, including one that will look familiar to New Yorkers.

The measure stipulates that when a broker is hired to represent a tenant in a residential or commercial rental transaction, “any fee shall only be paid by the party, lessor or tenant who originally engaged and entered into a contract with the licensed broker or salesperson.”

This language is similar to the Fairness in Apartment Rental Expenses Act, or FARE, which is being considered by the New York City Council.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved its own version of the bond bill, which would need to be reconciled with the Senate version to become law, the Statehouse News Service reported. We’ll let you know the outcome. New York Council member Chi Ossé, the prime sponsor of the FARE Act, has repeatedly pointed out that NYC and Boston are outliers in that renters often pay brokers chosen by landlords.

On Friday, he wrote on the social media platform X about the Massachusetts Senate vote, saying if his bill came to a vote tomorrow it would pass. “We need to pass the #FAREAct now.”

There’s been a bit of cross-pollination between New York and Boston on this issue for some time.

In February 2020, then-Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced a working group to study rental fees. That was just one month after New York’s Department of State issued guidance that interpreted the state’s 2019 rent law to ban tenant-paid broker fees.

A state court dismissed that guidance, and Walsh’s efforts reportedly fizzled out too. At the time, though, the Boston Association of Realtors argued that shifting the responsibility to landlords would result in higher rents. That has been a prime argument cited by agents here as well.

What we’re thinking about: Who will take over for Greenland USA at Pacific Park? Send a note to

A thing we’ve learned: The Empire State Building lit up purple this week in honor of Grimace, the McDonald’s character who (unbeknownst to many) is an enormous, purple taste bud. Grimace threw the first pitch at the Mets game on June 12.

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Elsewhere in New York…

— As part of the $112.4 billion city budget deal, the mayor and City Council added $100 million for early education programs, Gothamist reports. Some of that will go to providing seats for the 1,600 families on the pre-K waitlist.

— President Joe Biden on Friday visited NYC to celebrate the opening of Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, CBS News reports. The opening coincides with the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

—  The city of Hudson and surrounding areas are among the top communities in the nation for seniors, the Times Union reports. The upstate areas ranked 30th in the nation for metro and micropolitan areas with the highest median age, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential sale Friday was $13.3 million for a 4,500-square-foot condominium at 111 West 57th Street in the Plaza District. Kane Manera and Janet Wang of The Corcoran Group had the listing. 

Commercial: The largest commercial sale of the day was $30 million for a 70-room hotel at 373 Fifth Avenue in the Garment District. 

New to the Market: The highest price for a residential property hitting the market was $11 million for a 6,500-square-foot townhouse at 435 East 87th Street in Yorkville. Ariel Sassoon of Serhant has the listing. 

Breaking Ground: The largest new building application filed was for a 179,779-square-foot, 26-unit senior building at 2828 West 28th Street in Coney Island. Permits were filed by John Woelfling of Dattner Architects. — Matthew Elo

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