Homestore, the company that operates Realtor.com and other real estate-related Web sites, has altered its presentation of Realtors’ online rental listings.

Consumers who searched for rental properties at Realtor.com, an official site of the National Association of Realtors trade group, would previously click through several screens to access Realtors’ rental listings at Realtor.com, or would click on a menu that directed them to Homestore’s RentNet.com rental site, which is not affiliated with the Realtor association.

Now, consumers who select “Rentals” at Realtor.com will be directed to a Realtor-affiliated rental site that carries Realtor-based rental listings. Also, consumers who search RentNet.com for available rental properties will have the option to “see more rental properties at Realtor.com,” and vice versa.

While real estate agents do not play a leading role in the rental market in some areas, they are big players in such major rental markets as Manhattan.

Laura Rubinfeld, association executive for the Manhattan Association of Realtors, said that the change at Realtor.com is big news for her association. “We’ve been working five years to see this accomplished — ever since our launch. Now when the consumer goes (to Realtor.com) and says, ‘I want to rent an apartment,’ Realtor rentals show up. It’s huge for us. This will be a tremendous benefit to multiple listing service participants in Manhattan.”

She added, “Our Realtor rentals were (formerly) meshed in with home sales. We felt that really wasn’t very supportive of Realtor rentals.”

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