The doctrine of the cases relating to sales of real estate is equally applicable to those of leases of real estate.1
A real estate broker may recover commissions upon the rental reserved in a lease procured by him although the lease has not been actually executed by the parties, if they have made a valid and binding agreement to make it.2
Where there has been such an agreement between the proposed tenant and the broker's employers upon the essentials of a contract of lease as to have rendered it enforcible by an action, the broker has earned his commissions, and the requirement of the Statute of Frauds that the agreement must be evidenced in writing, which might be pleaded as a defense, has no bearing upon the question of whether the broker had earned his commission. That, alone, depended upon whether the minds of the parties had met upon an agreement for a lease, and whether the broker had been the procuring cause.3
Where the minds of the parties had, in fact, met in agreement upon the essential terms and conditions of a lease, and the subsequent failure to consummate it formally is due to an unreasonable demand of the landlord, the broker cannot be deprived of the right to his commissions.4
A real estate broker becomes entitled to a commission only when he is the procuring cause of the lease which he has been engaged to negotiate.5
Where the property is placed in the hands of several brokers for the purpose of securing a tenant, the owner is ordinarily obligated to pay commissions only to the one who was the procuring cause of the lease.6
1 Tanenbaum v. Boehm, 202 N. Y. 293; 95 N. E. 708 (1911). See also Sec. 231. 2 Guarantor Realty Corporation v. Barnum, 172 App. Div. 9; 157 N. Y. Suppl. 911 (1916).
3 Tanenbaum v. Boehm, supra.
4 Tanenbaum v. Boehm. supra.
5 Fox v. Cammeyer. 93 Misc. 180; 156 N. Y. Suppl. 1046 (1916).
Where, in an action by a broker to recover commissions for procuring a lease of real estate, it appears that the plaintiff only called the attention of an agent of a proposed lessee to the premises and submitted an offer to make a lease which was rejected, and submitted another offer made by defendants, which was never accepted, and that another firm of brokers procured the execution of the lease, without learning of the property or of the lessee through the plaintiff, he is not entitled to recover.7
A real estate broker employed to procure a tenant able and willing to pay a certain yearly rent and to furnish a part of the cost of erecting a twelve-story building on the premises, to be constructed on plans to be mutually agreed upon between the parties, cannot recover commissions where no plans for a twelve-story building were ever agreed upon and a contract between the owner and the prospective tenant was repudiated by the owner and abandoned by mutual consent, because of the financial inability of the proposed tenant to perform by reason of the fact that he was unable to satisfy judgments for large amounts entered against him. Where the complaint in such action alleges that the owner and the proposed tenant were to agree upon the plans for a twelve-story building, it is error to admit evidence that the owner and the proposed tenant subsequently negotiated as to the erection of a fifteen and one-half or sixteen-story building, as the difference in the proposed terms of the lease is radical.8
A broker who procures a tenant to enter into a lease for a term of years, with an option to the tenant for a further term, is entitled to commissions on the rental for the term of the lease, but, it seems, not upon the rental for the optional additional term unless the broker is the procuring cause of having the tenant exercise his option to take the extended term also. It is also suggested that although the owner promises to pay commissions on the rental for the extended term the broker cannot recover if the extended term is not to begin and such additional commissions are not to be paid until after the expiration of an original term of more than a year, unless the agreement to pay is in writing.9
6Thorpe v. Cameron, 191 111. App. 455 (1915). See also Sec. 97.
7 Loewenthal v. Klein, 159 App. Div. 334; 144 N. Y. Suppl 593 (1913)
8 Head note in Herron v. Cameron, 144 App. Div. 43; 128 N. Y. Suppl 871 (1911).
9 Allwin Realty Co. v. Barth, 161 App. Div. 568; 146 N. Y. Suppl. 960 (1914). See also Sec. 26.
The employment of a broker to procure a purchaser for a leasehold interest in real estate may be proven, either by oral testimony or by a writing, and the contract is performed when the broker procures a purchaser ready, able, and willing to take the property at the seller's terms. It is not essential to a recovery that the broker should prove the execution of a written contract between the owner and the intending purchaser.10
10 Wiederman v. Verschleiser, 95 Misc. 276; 159 N. Y. Suppl. 226 (1916). See opinion in same case on motion in trial court for new trial, 93 Misc. (453).