Rav Yosef Dovid Josilowsky Question: Two people are business partners. One of them wants to…
Is a Pushy Real Estate Broker Guilty of Lo Sachmod?
Rav Yosef Dovid Josilowsky
Question: A fellow owns a house in a desirable area. A real estate broker knows that there are buyers who would be interested in paying a lot of money for this house. He asks the homeowner if he wants to sell, and the initial response is that he’s not interested. The broker then knocks on his door every day, pressuring him to sell. Finally, he gives in to the pressure and consents. Has the broker transgressed Lo Sachmod?
Answer: There is a discussion amongst the Poskim whether someone who wants something in order to give it to someone else is in transgression of Lo Sachmod. The B’Tzeil Hachochmah says that this would be Lo Sachmod because the person is taking it for himself and giving it to someone else. In this case, however, the broker does not want the house for himself at all. All he really wants is to make his commission on the sale. Accordingly, it seems that he has not transgressed Lo Sachmod.
If someone wants to buy the house and the broker is pressuring the owner on that person’s behalf, the buyer will have transgressed Lo Sachmod, and the broker is guilty of helping him do this aveirah. Still, the broker himself is not in transgression of Lo Sachmod since his only objective is to make money. At the same time, the broker may be guilty of having too much of a desire for money, which has many other undesirable results.