StreetEasy Is Marking Available Rentals As Unavailable

Hell hath no fury like a brokerage spurned.

In the latest chapter in the ongoing dispute between the city’s top brokerages and StreetEasy, the Real Estate Board of New York plans to file a complaint with the Department of State, accusing StreetEasy of misleading consumers by marking certain apartments as unavailable, sources said.

At the heart of the matter are three words — “no longer available” — which residential brokers say StreetEasy has posted on properties being marketed by agents who haven’t joined the portal’s $3-per-day-per-listing rental network.

Instead of removing those listings, StreetEasy has marked them “no longer available” even though they’re still active listings. That could lead renters to think those listings are no longer on the market, causing agents to lose business.

“It’s just not available on StreetEasy,” one brokerage source said.

Jamie McShane, a spokesman for REBNY, declined to comment. Representatives for the DOS, which regulates real estate advertising and licensing, declined to comment.

In a statement, StreetEasy’s general manager Susan Daimler said unavailable listings do not appear in search results or email notifications to consumers. Rather, they are “essentially invisible to the consumer unless they saved the URL or they look in the building’s listing history.” Since July 19, a day after the daily fee kicked in, rental listings on StreetEasy have been viewed 12 million times, Daimler said. Just a fraction of those views – less than 1 percent — have pulled up listings designated unavailable, she said.

So far, more than 5,000 agents are opting to pay the $3 fee, StreetEasy said.

In March, REBNY asked state regulators to probe StreetEasy’s Premier Agent program over concerns it violated a rule that prohibits advertising another agent’s exclusive. While REBNY argued it caused a “maelstrom” of consumer confusion, StreetEasy said the allegation was without merit.

REBNY rolled out its own syndicated listings service August 1, and StreetEasy so far refused to accept its feed, even though 10 prominent residential brokerages have said they would exclusively feed their listings through REBNY’s RLS.

The firms are Brown Harris Stevens, Town Residential, Compass, Stribling & Associates, Warburg Realty, Fox Residential, Kleier Residential, Leslie J. Garfield, Bond New York and Tungsten. There may be others.

“It’s not that I want to stop sending to StreetEasy,” said Barbara Fox of Fox Residential. “But I want them to get the right information.”

Douglas Elliman is feeding to both, as is Halstead Property — for now.

But Halstead CEO Diane Ramirez said that once additional aggregators start accepting the RLS — such as, which just inked a deal with REBNY— Halstead is “deliberately positioned to pivot our feed to post solely through the RLS syndication.”

“We have actively monitored and evaluated the changes that StreetEasy has implemented over the last number of months,” Ramirez added. “And while we do not agree with the different directions the site has taken, our commitment, first and foremost, is to our agents and their clients.”

So It Begins - StreetEasy Listings Dip. Is This The End Of StreetEasy?

MANHATTAN — Twenty years ago, renters looking for deals relied on pen, paper and pay phones, using the Village Voice and New York Times classifieds to get leads. Then, along came Craigslist, and apartment searches moved online.

StreetEasy, which launched in 2005, changed everything again, providing more data and transparency.

But as StreetEasy began last week charging brokers to pay for listing their rentals — $3 per day per listing — and the number of listings on the site dropped dramatically, many are now wondering whether the site will lose its preeminent position as the go-to site for house hunters.

“StreetEasy has a large percentage of the ‘mindshare’ when it comes to how people start searching,” said Philip Lang, of tech-focused real estate brokerage Triplemint. “The question is whether someone is going to come up and innovate here or whether StreetEasy is going to remain dominant because they have the lion’s share of the consumer view."

The landscape for rental search engines is a lot more crowded than when the company started. Even the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is considering building its own search portal, insiders said. And, there's also a rise in other startups trying to eliminate the role of the broker altogether.

“One of the reasons StreetEasy was so great, was that you could get a clear picture of the market, it had a clear interface, and you didn’t have to worry about people posting five times [like on Craigslist],” Lang said. “The unfortunate thing now is that brokers are not just going to go to StreetEasy.”

Within 24-hours, of implementing the new fee, StreetEasy saw a drop of more than 50 percent of its rental listings, according to Triplemint, which has been keeping close tabs on StreetEasy’s rental listings.

In the days after, the number of listings began to climb a little.

By Thursday, it was hovering above 16,000 — but that was still down about 47 percent from the 30,000 listings it had the day before the fee took effect, Lang noted.


“You need to understand the agent’s perspective to understand the impact on the consumer,” Lang said.

An agent with a listing for a $1,900-a-month Upper East Side studio might think twice before spending $60 bucks to list on StreetEasy, he said. Also, a broker with multiple listings in one building might only pay for one — which might hurt a renter’s leverage power.

“So, there could be less transparency,” Lang said.

Douglas Wagner, of BOND New York, said that StreetEasy never claimed to have all of the rentals in one place. Rather it is the place to see listings from landlords and brokers with exclusive listings.

In the rental world, two-thirds of the market are actually “open listings,” that any broker can show, Wagner said.

These never appear on StreetEasy, but are posted on other sites like RentHop and Zumper as well as Naked Apartments, which is now owned by StreetEasy’s parent company, Zillow. (Brokers have long had to pay to list on Naked Apartments, which has a monthly subscription model.)

“Consumers like to see it all in one place, but it’s never been in one place," he said. "I think over time, people will learn to search in different places.”

REBNY, the city’s powerful trade group for the industry, is expected to launch a Residential Listing Service (RLS) syndication Aug. 1 that will centralize listings of its member firms and then provide a feed of those listings to 200 real estate listing websites.

The project, which has been in the works for two years, will mean that brokers will no longer have to do the legwork of reaching out to many of these sites individually. The organization is mulling its own portal next, insiders said.

REBNY has not announced yet which sites will get its RLS feed, but StreetEasy officials confirmed they have no agreement in place to be part of the program.

Wagner, who is a leading member on REBNY’s Residential Brokerage Rental Committee, was very excited about the organization’s new RLS, saying there’s been a lot of newfound co-operation among the more than 500 firms in REBNY’s community for the project.

“It seems to make a lot of sense to have one broker hose, full of data compliance and integrity and is vetted and checked that will update any listings to an aggregator.”

The desire for “clean” listings is one of the reasons that StreetEasy officials say their new policy is working: The fee helped weed out stale listings.

“We’re excited about what this means for renters in New York City, who now have access to a database of legitimate, active and accurate NYC inventory,” Susan Daimler, StreetEasy general manager, said in a statement.

The decline was also expected, she said, because many agents failed to sign up before the deadline and did not realize their listings would then be removed.

“They’re opting in and we’re seeing inventory increase by the minute,” she added.

Daimler was not too concerned about the competition.

“What we do with the listings after getting them is where the magic happens,” she explained. “It’s NYC-tailored search features, mobile apps, buildings data, transportation information and more. What continues to be unique about StreetEasy is this laser-focus on a very small geographic area.”

The new fee structure was the second time in recent weeks that StreetEasy angered the brokerage community.

The first was when it launched its “premier agent” program for sales listings, allowing brokers — who might have no connection to the listing or even the neighborhood — to pay for a ZIP code’s worth of listings and get first dibs at answering emails from prospective buyers who send a direct message to inquire about a property.

That policy for sales was more upsetting than the rental fees, said Karla Saladino, a co-founder and managing partner of Mirador Real Estate, noting that the firm already pays thousands to list rentals on other sites, including Craigslist and Naked Apartments.

She was, however, irked that StreetEasy was not yet charging landlords to list apartments. (That was in the works, the company said.)

Still, in some ways, she’s happy that the number of rental listings are dropping.

“Now there’s less competition for my listings to be seen on StreetEasy,” she said.

But that could mean more competition for renters to get an apartment.

“We don’t believe that restricting inventory will provide the best experience for the end user,” said Daniel Levy, CEO of listing site CityRealty.

Ever since the premier agent controversy, his site has seen a “significant bump” in its traffic, he said.

StreetEasy's Listings Drop By Half! The End Of!?

The number of rental listings on StreetEasy plunged after the firm began charging brokers $3-per-day for posting on the site, data show.

The policy went into effect Tuesday, July 18, and appeared to cut the number of listings on the site by around half. While StreetEasy, which is owned by Zillow Group, does not release historical data on the number of listings, an internet archive called the Wayback Machine showed that there were roughly 30,700 rental listings on the site July 3. On Tuesday afternoon, another listing website called Leasebreak posted numbers indicating that listings had dropped to around 13,750.

StreetEasy said the dropoff was to be expected. While brokers were notified weeks ago that the charges were coming, many did not set up automatic payments, by Tuesday, so their listings were being scrubbed from the site.

"We anticipated that many agents would sign up after the deadline, once they realized their listings were no longer on StreetEasy, and today we're seeing agents opting in by the minute," Susan Daimler, StreetEasy General Manager, said in a statement.

By the end of the day, hours after the post by Leasebreak, the number of rental listings had climbed to around 15,500. The firm expects it to take weeks for the listings to stabilize, and does not expect the numbers to return to where they were, since many listings on the site were either outdated or not real.

"Stale inventory is getting weeded out," Daimler said. "We're excited about what this means for renters in New York City, who now have access to a database of legitimate, active and accurate NYC inventory."

Brokerages, on the other, hand, were less enthusiastic about the changes.

"This is just a continuation of the Zillow/StreetEasy business plan," Town Residential CEO Andrew Heiberger told The Real Deal. "It's no surprise. On the one hand, StreetEasy and Zillow deserve to be compensated for aggregating and distributing leads. On the other hand, this feels more like a tax on rental agents."

The fee does not apply to for-sale listings, yet......

Where to Watch NYC’s July 4th Fireworks – for Free!

Are you in town this Fourth of July weekend? If you don’t have a rooftop of your own to watch from (or a friend’s to mooch off), have no fear — there are plenty of free, primo spots to watch the fireworks in four out of the five boroughs. Macy’s 40th annual Fourth of July fireworks show is set off from five barges: one double barge south of the Brooklyn Bridge and the remaining four along the East River, spread between 23rd and 37th Streets. Sparks will begin to fly around 9:20 p.m. and last for about 30 minutes. Jersey City’s Freedom & Fireworks Festival can also be seen from certain parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn and will begin at 9:30 p.m. In case of rain, start times will be delayed — but rest assured that the show will go on.

Pro tip: It’s generally easier to see fireworks from low-rise Brooklyn and Queensthan it is from within Manhattan. See our picks for the best (free!) places to watch below.


South Street Seaport | Financial District

The South Street Seaport hosts their Festival of Independence all day long, so why not make a day of it? Not only will you secure a riverside viewing spot, but you can dabble in all the festival has to offer, including live music, an exhibit by The Parsons School of Design, family programming, and Seaport Smorgasburg, which now includes an outdoor bar. What better way to celebrate America than by day-drinking and eating to your heart’s content until the fireworks start? Designated viewing areas include the FDR via Dover Street, with less stellar views from Fulton Street and Peck Slip.

FDR Drive | Lower Manhattan

The area between Houston Street and Midtown East is a great spot for viewing; access to the highway opens around 7 p.m. with entry points at Houston, 23rd, 34th and 42nd Streets. The elevated portion of the FDR Drive is also an official viewing site, with entrances at Broad Street (ground level), Old Slip (upper level) and Pearl and Frankfort Streets.

Running alongside the FDR and the East River from Montgomery to East 12th Street, the John V. Lindsay East River Park is a great viewing spot for the fireworks display, as is the waterfront area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, AKA Two Bridges. If you’re looking for a family friendly place to watch,Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island is hosting a Family Fireworks Celebration from 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. The event is free, butadvance registration is required and opens on June 27.


Brooklyn Bridge Park

According to TripExpert’s data scientist, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the best spot to watch the fireworks. Not only are there fantastic views of the fireworks unfolding over the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, but watching from Brooklyn gives you the added bonus of the Manhattan skyline lit up at night. Access the park at Old Fulton and Furman Streets, Joralemon and Furman Streets or Old Dock and Furman Streets and claim your spot early. You can also access the park through the entrance at Atlantic Avenue and Pier 6 until 4 p.m. Limit your picnic supplies to blankets and small bags; the NYPD won’t allow chairs in any official viewing areas and will be checking all bags. Be aware that park attractions like Jane’s Carousel and the Pier 2 Pop-Up Pool will close at 4 p.m, so if you plan on staking out a spot early, prepare for hours of downtime.

Coney Island

Coney Island hosts a July 4th Fireworks Spectacular each year, preceded by the Annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Around 9:30 p.m, the fireworks begin off the beach near Steeplechase Pier, so grab a picnic blanket and hunker down at Steeplechase Plaza or the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Pro tip: The best seating can be found along the boardwalk or beach between West 10th and West 15th Streets. Not interested in shlepping to Coney for the Fourth? No problem. They’ll be hosting a free fireworks show every Friday night from 9:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. through Sept. 3.

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is an extremely popular viewing location that boasts a more elevated view of the fireworks than Brooklyn Bridge Park, with an equally stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. Grand Ferry Parkand East River State Park are also good options, though their locations don’t lend great views. Since these Williamsburg waterfront parks put you farther from the action, they might be your best bet for viewing if you prefer to avoid crowds that rival the L train at rush hour. For the same reasons, Greenpoint’s WNYC Transmitter Park is also a good option. An added bonus to watching from Transmitter Park is The Brooklyn Barge, a waterfront barge bar right next to the park that will be hosting a Fourth of July party for the Macy’s fireworks show. The party is all you can eat and drink, so it’s not free — but tickets are still available.


Gantry Plaza State Park | Long Island City

Since the fireworks are over the East River this year, the view from this Long Island City waterfront park is not ideal. But hey, it still beats watching the show from a screen inside your apartment! We’d only suggest going to Gantry Plaza State Park if you live nearby and won’t be crushed by a less than stellar view of the fireworks display. If nothing else, you’ll have a great view of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

Staten Island

The Staten Island Philharmonic will perform “American Salute” at 6 p.m. at theAlice Austen House on the water, followed by a viewing of citywide fireworks displays until 10 p.m.

If you’re attending the fireworks with an elderly or disabled person, Macy’s has a great map outlining which areas have been reserved for handicapped viewers, including the Murry Bergtraum High School Track and Vietnam Memorial Park. A full list of access points for these viewing areas can be found here.

Some of the public viewing areas have limited capacity and the NYPD may redirect you accordingly. If you have your heart set on a certain spot, it’s best to post up early.

Not in town this Fourth of July weekend but still want to see fireworks soar across the NYC skyline? Control your FOMO — there are plenty of opportunities to see free fireworks throughout the summer.

*Asterisks indicate unofficial viewing areas. While you are generally permitted to bring lawn chairs or other large items to these locations, it’s possible that some or all of the parks may close. If you’re planning on going the unofficial route, prepare a plan B to avoid total disappointment.