In the state of Washington if a “manager” collects rents from individually owned homes (usually short term tourist rentals), do the books and passes on the net proceeds [go] to owners? Does he need a brokers license?
Good question! And a bit of a can of worms!
In Washington, “real estate brokerage services” include “performing property management services, which includes with no limitation: marketing; leasing; renting; the physical, administrative, or financial maintenance of real property; or the supervision of such actions.” See RCW 18.85.011 (16)(h).
Honestly I’m not sure about your management of short-term rentals in Washington since I’ve never dealt with them.
I suspect there’s an exemption for vacation rentals somewhere, so for clarification I actually called the Washington Real Estate Commission’s Regulatory and Enforcement Unit.
So, I would suspect that for your residential rentals (those longer than 30 days), you probably do need a broker’s license unless you fall into one of the exemptions listed in the Revised Code of Washington (see RCW 18.85.151 and elsewhere). I’m not a licensed lawyer in Washington, so for any clarification about what that means specifically for your situation, I would definitely suggest contacting an attorney or the Washington Real Estate Commission.
The Washington Real Estate Commission person I spoke with indicated that if I were to manage a short-term rental he thinks I’d be exempt (perhaps under the exemption for hotels), but couldn’t locate the specific rule—but let me make this clear: I wouldn’t rely on that until you get some kind of confirmation.
As always, please don’t consider this legal advice, because it’s not. I’m not a licensed attorney. Before taking any action, consult with professional licensed in your state.
Author of the Landlord Chronicles blog, Tracey March provides stories and “lessons learned” from her experience as a self-managed rental property owner. She helps owners decide if partnering with a property management company is beneficial.
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