Dear Real Estate Agents,

StreetEasy has once again demonstrated its monopolistic behavior with two new announcements that will negatively impact real estate agents and brokerages:

  • Increasing the mandatory rental fee another 33% to $6/day ($180 per month). This is the third large increase in just 2 years.
  • No longer accepting any “feeds”. This is HUGE (Read on to see how this could ensure StreetEasy’s dominance for years to come unless we act as an industry ASAP).

This first announcement is just another example of StreetEasy’s greedy desire to extract as much cash as possible from the pockets of agents.

The second announcement, however, is much more strategic and sinister. We got our first hint of their “no listing feeds” strategy early this year as I described here in January: StreetEasy’s Diaboloical Plan.

Before we dig into this more, let’s briefly review their exploitative tactics over the last few years.  We are reminded that every major announcement from StreetEasy has involved more money out of the pockets of agents and/or has made their listings marketplace less transparent.

Brief History of StreetEasy’s Exploitative Tactics
2015: Building/Neighborhood Expert. Allows agents to pay to be “expert” agents whether or not they are really “experts”
2017Premier Agent. Connects buyers’ agents with consumers in a way that is misleading to the consumer
2017Initiates Rental Listing Charge. Gouges rental agents by initiating a mandatory posting fee of $3/day/listing ($90/month).
2018Raises Rental Listing Charge. Increases the rental fee by 50% ($4.50/day/listing = $135/month)
2019Charges Fee to Remove Premier Agent. Agrees to remove the never wanted deceptive Premier Agent program from your listing if you pay $333/month/listing.
2019Initiates Referral Fee. Charges unconscionable 35% referral fee (After Premier Agent predictably fails)
2019Raises Rental Listing Charge. Raises the mandatory rental fee again by another 33% ($6/day/listing = $180/month)
2019Gets Rid of Listing Feeds.  Requires ALL agents to enter their listings manually. No longer supports any feeds.  This is huge as it has critical consequences described below for agents and brokerages.

The Real Reason StreetEasy is Cutting All Feeds
First of all, we can easily dismiss the rationale given by StreetEasy to get rid of all feeds.  It is laughable and deceptive.  They claim: “This update will allow us to deliver the best possible listings-entry experience, supporting a healthy marketplace through accurate and up-to-date listings.”

If you want the most accurate, consistent and up to date information, the very last thing you want to do is to have thousands of people individually uploading their own listings.  There is no doubt that this will cause StreetEasy to become much LESS reliable and accurate over time.

Ironically, the way StreetEasy became the most accurate and transparent website 10 year ago was by supporting feeds from every NYC brokerage.

So why get rid of the feeds that helped build the company?

Leverage. They need to maintain leverage to support their ever growing pricing power. 

MLS’s in other states have a lot of leverage over Zillow/StreetEasy.  The MLS’s control the majority of listings that feed to Zillow’s website.  MLS’s are often able to dictate the terms, or at minimum, bring enormous leverage to any negotiation process with companies like StreetEasy.

But we don’t have an MLS in NYC, and the RLS is not quite where it needs to be (yet).  

Up until this year, a huge percentage of the industry (e.g. Corcoran, Elliman) was still feeding their listings to StreetEasy.  This gave these firms a lot of leverage over StreetEasy since they could delay their feeds or threaten to even remove their feeds altogether.  It enabled these firms to negotiate better terms for their brokerage.

So, if you are StreetEasy, why not minimize any leverage brokerage firms may have over you, especially in the absence of an MLS?  By forcing manual entry StreetEasy will control the point of entry with the individual agent.  In fact, StreetEasy wants to have a direct relationship with all agents.  This will enable them to more easily impose and implement harsh new initiatives and terms as they reduce the leverage and control of the big brokerage firms and the third party providers (OLR, RealtyMX, RealPlus, Perchwell, etc.).

We need to fend off the far reaching monopolistic dominance that StreetEasy is seeking. REBNY’s efforts to make the RLS closer to an MLS is a major step in this direction, and hopefully these efforts will dramatically accelerate in 2020.  Time is of the essence.  I will have more to say about this in a future post.

Let’s work together to ensure the integrity of New York City Real Estate!

Phil Horigan
Leasebreak#1 in shorter term rentals and pioneered the Special Lead Program a great way for agents to get rental exclusives and work with renters
Get First Peek by FrēlēWhere rentals appear before they hit the mainstream websites
FrēlēA new free and honest marketplace focused on 12 month rentals.  We may add sales in 2020.


Philip Horigan is the founder of - a leading marketplace for rentals in NYC, founded in 2013. He launched Frēlē - a more comprehensive NYC rental marketplace - in May 2018 with a 4 point pledge ( Phil has been a New York City real estate agent for 14 years working for some of the top firms in the city. He became an independent broker in early 2017 so that he can focus more on his entrepreneurial endeavors. Phil believes strongly in building businesses in an ethical and transparent way.

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