Price Gouging After Superstorm Sandy
We have a housing crisis of epic proportions in all the areas hard hit by Superstorm Sandy. People who lost their homes in the storm are in desperate need of temporary apartments. We don't have enough of them here on Long Island. What we have in terms of legal apartments are normally offered for lease and not for month-to-month rental.
One month's rent, one or two month's security and one month's brokerage fee (in some places, it's a certain percentage of the year's total) are traditional in a rental arrangement. This creates all sorts of problems for someone needing one month of housing, or two or three.
Homeowners with a property to rent have noticed the lack of availability. In response to the most basic rule of supply and demand, owners have responded by raising their prices. For an apartment that was barely worth $2,250.00 before the storm, they're now asking $2,800. Agents all over are noticing and complaining about this unhealthy trend.
In addition to the rent, there's a question of commission. Is it fair to ask for a fee commensurate with an entire month's rent from someone who is only renting for a month or two? I think not. While I'm not suggesting we work for free, (I know as well as anybody that I've been on my computer researching apartments into the wee hours of the morning), perhaps some guidelines from above need to be set forth.
The New York Attorney General has been flooded with complaints from consumers. Gouging is on their radar and they're looking into it.
Many people feel that Karma will be punishment enough for those willing to profit from someone else's misery. In my experience, people who take advantage of others' misfortunes often continue to do quite well. I'd much prefer to see regulations enacted.