Working Under Another Broker’s License and Other Issues…

Here’s a practical problem we at face everyday:

We do advertising and marketing for property management companies, and we want our site to be a credible and reliable one. So, while we’re not aware of any print media, such as the Yellowpages, doing this, we require our client’s advertising on our site to sign a statement that they have met all licensure requirements for their business.

Despite this assurance, we strongly recommend that anyone using the site check with their local real estate commission to make sure the company they work with has the proper licensure and that there are no disciplinary actions against them.

There have been several issues related to this:

  1. Not all states require a broker’s license for property management. Idaho and Maine come to mind.
  2. Most states don’t require a broker’s license for association management, but some do – or they require some kind of registration. Connecticut comes to mind.
  3. Most states require that the property management company itself has it’s own broker’s license, but some states appear to allow the management company to work under another real estate broker, or to use the broker’s license of an employee. I was recently told by a very nice woman from the Minnesota real estate commission that while a company representing clients in the purchase and sale of real property in Minnesota would need its own license, a property management company wouldn’t. Problem is, there’s no way under this system to make sure a property management company isn’t “borrowing” the license from a real estate broker without that broker’s knowledge – short of doing some time consuming follow up work.

From my perspective – I would LOVE it if a real estate broker’s license was required of property management companies in every state. Furthermore, it would be great if the companies themselves had to register under a designated broker’s number and that license number was available to the public on the internet. That way, when anyone wanting to check that a property management company is operating in compliance with state law, it would be quick and easy to do so.

And, while I think that some property management companies would have an issue with that, I think most would welcome that sort of clarity. We have property management companies asking us all the time if they need a license to do x, y or z, or if they can work under someone else’s license. Of course, I can’t tell them – not only would it be unauthorized practice of law, but they really should be checking in with their state real estate commission directly, and often the rules as actually practiced in other states seem unclear to me sitting at my desk in Washington state.

Having consistent rules amongst the states and a license check system that would let you know definitively if Company X has a proper license would sure be nice.

And anyone looking for a property management company – don’t forget to make sure that the one you choose is properly licensed – whether you find them through this website or using some other method!!! Google “real estate commission” and the name of your state and you should be able to find a link to check licensing. Problem is – if they don’t show up as being licensed, they still might be okay – and it might take you a while to get some confirmation!