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Mere weeks after rental technology company RentSpree publicly called on MLSs to increase their focus on how rental property data standards and cooperation policies are treated, the National Association of Realtors announced it has taken steps to broaden the tool set agents can use to work with renters.
The national real estate agent trade organization has forged an agreement with Rental Beast to offer agents access to software for rental application and tenant screenings, according to a press release.
“Rental Beast created a lead-to-lease platform which brings seamless entry into the multi-billion dollar rental industry and its clientele,” said NAR Vice President of Strategic Alliances Rhonny Barragan in the release. “We are thrilled to provide this benefit to our members.”
In addition to the software’s capabilities, members will be able to leverage courses within the technology provider’s educational component Rental Beast University.
Rental Beast has already partnered with a number of Realtor associations around the country offering access to listing management tools, rental property search, listing syndication to third-party apartment marketing sites and lead generation tools.
Founder and CEO of Rental Beast Ishay Grinberg is proud of finalizing the relationship; it should benefit agents and the 113 million renters around the country, he said in the announcement.
“With our tools, Realtors can also build relationships with potential home buyers by serving as their trusted advisors in the rental process,” Grinberg said.
The state of the rental market has become a concern for the industry as rents continue to challenge Americans in the wake of significant inflation and jumps in mortgage interest rates, putting homes out of reach for countless aspiring buyers.
There has been some relief, however. Inman reported on a Zumper market study stating that “rents are up 0.5 percent nationally from one month ago, marking a historic high and a rapid rate of growth, but significantly cooler than the growth rate of 1 to 2 percent seen in previous months.”
Making rental listings widely available to agents could increase exposure to leasing opportunities, provide agents with additional opportunities to educate consumers and lead to more negotiation pressure on landlords to reduce rates.
Discount broker Redfin managed to beat NAR to the effort by partnering with RentPath in early 2022.
In a phone call with Inman, RentSpree co-founder and CEO Michael Lucarelli said that MLSs don’t always apply the same cooperation standards or treat data input equally.
“This is important to understand. It’s not like MLSs are not handling the rental issue, it’s more about standards and rules of getting listings into them and treating them the same way,” he said. “Clear cooperation policies should be considered, it shouldn’t be applicable for only for-sale listings. Why not apply the same policies and regulations to encourage cooperation?”
The need for affordable rental property has become more essential in the wake of “own-to-rent” communities and the popularity of short-term rentals eliminating inventory.
New York City, for example, has more properties under Airbnb than it does on the open rental market.