Property Management Requirements by State
Interested in becoming a property manager? Most states have specific licensing requirements that you'll need to meet before opening your business. Below is a quick guide to the basic certifications you'll need. For more detailed information, use the state links in the left-hand column.
Most states require that people engaging in property management activities have a real estate broker's license. This is confusing to some, because many state real estate statutes don't even mention the words "property management." However, they do describe activities that are typically undertaken by property managers as the types of activities requiring a real estate broker license.
What does this mean in plain English? Depending on which state you live in, you may need a real estate license if you get paid to do any of the following activities:
As always, there are exceptions to these rules - individual states regulate real estate activities, and they are not uniform in their treatment of property management. Some states (such as Idaho, Maine and Vermont) do not require a real estate license to engage in property management. Other states (such as Montana, Oregon and South Carolina) allow property managers to work under a property management license rather than a broker's license. However, the vast majority of states require a property manager who is engaging in renting and leasing activities to have a real estate broker's license, or to be a real estate salesperson working for a real estate broker. To become a licensed real estate broker, states typically require that you meet certain requirements:
The experience requirement is often waived for attorneys or equivalent experience. In addition, individual states often soften the requirements for real estate salespeople and brokers who are licensed in other states, or offer reciprocity. For more information about these possibilities, please check with the state real estate commission.
Many states require real estate companies to designate a "managing" broker. This is usually someone who will have day-to-day responsibility for managing and overseeing the real estate office. Typically the requirements to be licensed as a managing broker are more stringent than for being a regular broker - for example, to be a managing broker, applicants are often required to take a "Broker Management" course and to take additional management questions on the licensure exam. For more information, please check with your state real estate commission.
Property management companies that are LLCs, corporations, or other business entities, and that engage in real estate activities in their business name are often required to obtain a broker's license in the name of the firm. This is a requirement that varies depending on the state. You should be able to search for a company's license on the state license search/lookup page as well as the individual broker.
Most states have license applications available for viewing and print out on their websites. It is a good idea to review these applications before you start the process of getting a license so you have an idea about the information you will be required to provide.
The information below should be considered a general guideline only. Information should not be considered to be all-inclusive, and should not be taken as legal advice. Always contact your state real estate commission before making any decisions or taking any actions to make sure that the information you have is current and accurate.
IMPORTANT: This information is intended for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should it be considered legal advice or relied upon without first confirming its contents with your state real estate commission. Laws are updated frequently, and this information may not reflect the current law in your state. To confirm the specific requirements for each state, please contact your state real estate commission.
If you see any errors in this information, please contact us.