Property Management requirements in California

Must a California property management company have a real estate broker's license?

YES. Key components of property management are considered a real estate activity under existing California real estate licensing laws. A broker's license is required for any person or company that, for compensation, leases or rents or offers to lease or rent, or places for rent, or solicits listings of places for rent, or solicits for prospective tenants, or negotiates the sale, purchase or exchanges of leases on real property, or collects rents from real property, or improvements thereon. A salesperson working under a broker may engage in such activities.

Are there any exceptions to the requirement that a California property manager have a broker's license?

Certain exemptions apply. For example, certain functions can be fulfilled by an employee of a property management firm retained to manage a residential apartment building or complex, if that person is under the supervision and control of a broker who is also employed by that firm.

For more information about these and other California property management requirements and exceptions, please contact the California Department of Real Estate.

Before hiring a property manager to manage your California rental property, you should always check that he or she is properly licensed. You can check the license status of California property managers at the California Department of Real Estate license check webpage.

California Community and Homeowner Association Manager Licensing

There is no requirement that a community association manager in California have a real estate broker's license. However, voluntary certification, known as "Certified CID Manager," is available. Claiming that you are certified to manage condo associations or other types of homeowner associations when you don't have the license is considered an "unfair business practice." The law for Certified CID Managers will sunset on January 1, 2015 unless the California legislature extends it.

California Real Estate Broker Requirements

California real estate broker licensing requirements include:

  • Age: Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Residency: Must provide proof of legal residence in the US.
  • Truthfulness: Applicants must be honest and truthful. If you have been convicted of a crime, the license may be denied. Also, failure to disclose a prior conviction or discipline could result in denial.
  • Experience: You must have a minimum of two years experience as a real estate salesperson (or equivalent) within the past five years
  • Examination: Must successfully complete broker licensing exam
  • Education: Applicants for the broker's license exam must also have taken the following college-level classes: Real Estate Practice, Legal Aspects of Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Appraisal, Real Estate Economics or Accounting, and three elective classes. Broker qualification courses must be completed at institutions approved by the California Real Estate Commission.
  • Fees: Exam fee is $95. License fee is $300.

    California Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Requirements

    California sales person licensing requirements include:

  • Age: Must be at least 18 years old
  • Residency: Must provide proof of legal residence in the U.S.
  • Truthfulness: If you have been convicted of a crime, the license may be denied. Also, failure to disclose a prior conviction or discipline could result in denial.
  • Fingerprints: Applications must submit fingerprints to the State Department of Justice.
  • Education: successful completion of three college-level courses specified by the California Department of Real Estate.
  • Exam: Successful completion of real estate salesperson licensing exam.
  • Fees: Examination fee is $60. License fee is $245.

    California Common Interest Development Manager Licensing Requirements

    To receive the certification, 30 classroom hours of education and successful completion of a test are required. Managers holding certifications and designations from the Community Associations Institute received prior to 2003 can be grandfathered in.

    The classroom education component requires instruction in the following areas:

  • California law on common interest developments
  • Personnel issues, including independent contractor and employee statutes, types of harassment, American with Disabilities Act,
  • Risk management, including insurance coverage and preventive maintenance
  • Property protection, including hazardous materials, local regulations, daycare facilities and energy conservation
  • Business affairs of community associations
  • Understanding of governing documents, codes and regulations relating to common interest developments

    For more information about these and other California licensing requirements, please contact the California Department of Real Estate.

    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.

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