Q: What is a New York Apartment Information Vendor and what is a New York Apartment Sharing Agent?
A: According to the New York Real Property Law § 446-a(2), an Apartment Information Vendor ("AIV") is an individual who, for a fee, provides information "concerning the location and availability of real property, including apartment housing, which may be leased, rented, shared or sublet as a private dwelling, abode, or place of residence." Included within the definition of an AIV is an Apartment Sharing Agent ("ASA"), which is an individual who, for a fee, seeks out roommates for the "current owner or occupant" of real property, if that current owner or occupant "wishes to share that housing… as a private dwelling, abode or place of residence…"
One example of an AIV is a person who, for a subscription fee, publishes a weekly bulletin that contains information about the location and availability of apartments for rent within a particular geographic location. If that bulletin contains information about apartments in which the current owner or occupant is seeking a roommate, then he or she would be considered an ASA.
According to the New York State Department of State ("DOS"), there are currently only 12 AIVs and 8 ASAs licensed in New York State. In order to apply to become an AIV or an ASA you must complete an Apartment Information Vendor/Apartment Sharing Agent Application available on the Department of State’s website.
Important Tip: Please note that the DOS has taken the position that a licensed real estate broker who "operated an internet business which offered apartment listings and related information for a fee" should have had a separate AIV license in addition to the real estate broker's license. When the real estate broker refused to obtain the AIV license, the DOS suspended the real estate broker's license.
If you are unsure as to whether you must obtain an AIV or ASA license, please contact legal counsel at your company.
The Legal Line Question by:
Neil B. Garfinkel
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP