Realtor associations launch special MLS page to help fire victims find rentals

Organized real estate in California breaks MLS norms to provide critical resource

EMBRACE. FOCUS. EXECUTE. Build your 2019 roadmap to success with 4,000+ real estate leaders.
Inman Connect New York | January 29 - February 1, 2019

The two Realtor associations of Ventura County, California, have teamed up to launch new page on their shared multiple listing service website dedicated to helping victims of the Southern California Thomas fire find short and long-term rental housing.

The Ventura County Coastal and Conejo Simi Moorpark Realtor associations worked with their MLS vendor FlexMLS to add this useful resource to the site in the aftermath of the largest wildfire in modern California history. The Thomas fire whipped up on Dec. 4 and raged on for over a full month before being fully contained as of Jan. 12. The fire swept over the Ventura County cities of Ventura, Santa Paula, Ojai, Carpinteria and Montecito, and in total scorched 281,900 acres while destroying 1,063 structures and damaging 280, according to a report from CNN.

MLS page putting landlords and fire victims in contact.

After the fire, an informal list of available rental units began to take shape, but in response to demand for a list with real-time information as properties were snatched up, the associations came up with the plan to leverage the MLS. The MLS does not typically list rental accommodations or short-term housing; however, for this special case, those displaced by the fire can browse through available rooms, apartments, guest houses and single-family homes in their county.

Property owners wanting to rent properties to fire victims are being asked to contact a Realtor in their community to ensure data quality, said Gayle Sutton, president of the Conejo Simi Moorpark Association. “Feedback from agents and people in need of housing has been extremely positive, but the site is only as valuable as the information posted there,” Sutton said.

The site is expected to remain live until the end of March.

Email Gill South.