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What! Zillow is Charging for Rentals?

by Kate Morse

Rental listings are typically free on websites like Craigslist, Padmapper, and previously, Zillow. Broker-dominated markets, like New York City, commonly charge for rental property listings, but it is an anomaly elsewhere. Because Oregon, Colorado, and Florida are not a broker-dominated states, it is surprising that Zillow has selected them to make landlords, agents, and managers pay to advertise their rentals. Zillow’s rental team has mentioned that they have no plans to roll back this paywall.

How is Zillow charging?

For rentals in Oregon, Colorado, or Florida, Zillow charges you a fee to advertise your rental property. This fee is charged even if you are posting on Zillow Rental Manager, where only your first posting for the year is free.

If you post through a professional property management solution, such as Hemlane, then Zillow is charging per listing per day. Unlike Zillow Rental Manager’s fees (which are weekly), you only pay for the days where it is listed and not for the days of that week when it’s not listed.

What effect will this have on the market?

Zillow became the #1 rental listing website, because it did not charge for listings and provided a great user experience with trusted data (shut down fraudulent accounts faster than its competitors, like Craigslist). Craigslist became a less popular option as it did not provide these two key features that Zillow had.

Zillow may risk its #1 position by putting up a paywall and requiring fees to list rentals. Since they also own Trulia and HotPads, who also have started charging to advertise, their overall rental listing inventory could decrease. When there is a fee to advertise on a website, fewer people will advertise on it. This is how paywall programs work.

In the short-term, we believe that Zillow’s change in policy will not strongly affect the market. They currently have the majority share of the market, so tenants will continue to search Zillow’s platform for their next home.

In the next couple of years, we predict that tenants will see Zillow’s inventory decrease and will start to discover other free rental sites with more listings available. This trend will be seen across the nation, as Zillow starts to charge for advertising on their website.

There could be a huge opportunity here for a new rental listing website to take the #1 position! However, Zillow may be quick to respond to any threat. In the long term, it will be interesting to see whether Zillow can maintain its #1 position as other listing websites become attractive with their free services.

Zillow’s new policy is shaking up the market. It will be interesting to see the long-term impact, and how it plays out for all of those in the rental market.

Options in Oregon, Colorado, and Florida today:

Do you want to continue advertising your rental property for free? You are in luck! There are other popular and free options to list and search for rental properties.

Here are the top popular and free options in Orgeon based on Google search results:


Here are the top popular and free options in Colorado based on Google search results:


In order to make it easier to advertise your rental across listing websites, Hemlane posts to over 40 rental listing websites with a goal to provide landlords and managers a guaranteed way to have their listing seen. Rental properties on Hemlane receive an average of 21 qualified leads, consolidated from all of the top rental listing websites.