Not all states license apartment managers, and most of those that do require the manager to hold a real estate broker's license. In some states, you can verify professional licenses through online databases, though some states might not offer this service. Online databases may also include information about any complaints or disciplinary actions against the property manager.
Apartment managers typically oversee the day-to-day operations of one or more apartment buildings. Manager duties involve advertising vacant apartments, finding renters for available units, arranging for repairs and maintenance, rent collection and managing relationships with tenants. Some property managers contract with landlords to manage the landlord's properties while others are employed directly by the landlord.
While some states offer a specific property manager license, many states require those who perform property management duties -- such as collecting rents or showing rental units to potential tenants -- to hold a real estate broker license. Contact your state's department of real estate licensing to find out whether it regulates property managers. If it does, ask if it issues a property manager's license or whether property managers must have a real estate license.
State laws sometimes exempt some apartment managers from having to obtain a property manager or real estate broker license. In California, direct employees of a property management firm who act as "resident managers" of apartment buildings don't have to hold a license. And in Michigan, employees of a building owner don't have to hold a license to act as property managers.
To look up the license of a property manager, visit the website of the state agency that issues property management or real estate licenses. In many cases, you'll find a link to an online database that allows you to look up an individual's license. Depending on the state in which you search, you may be able to find additional information about the individual and his licensing status, including the date he received his license and whether he has been subject to disciplinary proceedings.
Some apartment managers hold professional certification, such as the Certified Property Manager designation that is available through the Institute of Real Estate Management. If an apartment manager claims to hold a certification, you may be able to verify it by searching the online membership directory on the certifying organization's website.
- All Property Management: Property Management Requirements by State
- California Department of Real Estate, Real Estate Bulletin: Help Wanted: Eyes and Ears in Local Areas Around the State -- A Guide to Filing Complaints with the DRE
- Institute of Real Estate Management: Individual Member Directory
- Institute of Real Estate Management: Certified Property Manager (CPM)
- Nolo: When Should a Landlord Hire a Property Management Company
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Property, Real Estate, or Community Association Manager
- Washington State Department of Licensing: Look Up a Business or Professional License
- Michigan Business One Stop: Property Manager
- All Property Management: Property Management Requirements in California
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