50-State Real Estate Broker Licensing Compliance Guide
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Residential & Commercial Property Management

Maintain compliance with your residential and commercial property management company.

Working as a Residential and Commercial Property Manager

Property managers handle all aspects of on-site maintenance and complex finances, including rent, payroll, showing the property to prospective renters, and paying bills for repairs and landscaping. Residential and commercial property managers also handle complaints from tenants or community members. In most cases, the property manager is the first point of contact for issues with the building, including compliance with anti-discrimination laws regarding accessibility and tenancy contracts.

Starting or Expanding a Property Management Company

If you are planning to start or expand your property management business, you need to understand the business registration and licensing process. Here are some things to think about:

  • Develop a business plan, including:
    • Entity structure
    • Business name
    • Financial plans
  • Research the appropriate licenses or permits for your state
    • State requirements vary and change, so you want to access the most up-to-date information possible
  • Open a business bank account and hire an accountant
    • Business finances must be kept separate from personal finances for tax purposes
  • Register your business
    • Submit a business registration application with the secretary of state
    • Pay applicable fees
  • Meet the licensing requirements
    • Age - you need to be at least 18 or 19 to be a residential and commercial property manager
    • High school diploma or equivalent - most states require a high school diploma
    • Experience - you may need to demonstrate two to three years of experience as a real estate salesperson to show you have the expertise to manage properties
    • Residency - you must be a United States citizen, and some states require residency
    • Real estate education - certain classes, degrees, or certifications may be required depending on the state
    • Exam - after completing the required coursework, you will likely have to pass an examination
    • Trustworthiness - some states require applicants to submit evidence of trustworthiness, including a criminal background check, fingerprinting, or a copy of your credit report
  • Purchase insurance
    • Business insurance - covers losses that range from injury to others on your property to loss of income
    • General liability insurance - covers unintentional damage to another person's property or when someone is hurt while visiting your business
    • Property management insurance - covers your business in the event there are issues directly related to your work as a property manager

If you are concerned about managing the business registration process on your own, you can seek guidance from the business licensing experts at Harbor Compliance. With our professional licensing services, we offer full support through all of the stages of the corporate life cycle and can provide access to expert software insights. We make preparing and filing applications easy and handle communication with government agencies on your behalf. With our software, you can track your registration status, license numbers, filing history, fees, and renewals 24/7.

How to Get a Property Management License

Some state real estate boards require a property management license to engage in business related to leasing and managing rental properties. Most property management licenses require pre-licensing coursework from an approved source, passing an exam, and pursuing continuing education on an annual or otherwise regular basis. Note that in some states, property managers are required to obtain a real estate broker’s license in order to conduct real estate transactions because the broker license is considered to have satisfied the education and examination requirements for licensure as a property manager.

Licensing requirements for property management vary by state. It is essential to verify the process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. You will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, and more. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices. To manage those tasks more efficiently, Harbor Compliance offers licensing management software and managed services to help simplify the application process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.

Maintenance and Renewal

Most states and cities require licenses to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. Renewal ensures your business complies with all state and local regulations. Renewal fees vary, so it is a good idea to be aware of what you may owe to keep your business in good standing.

If you are currently operating a business and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. We are available to review your business status, ensure you can operate uninterrupted, and explain what steps you need to take in order to ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

Meeting licensing requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, Harbor Compliance’s License Manager helps firms maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals and compliance deadlines. Through License Manager, you can also access Compliance Core™ – our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing requirements – to research the requirements for the states in which you work. Contact out licensing experts today to learn more.

Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO)
Offers a license verification database accross 43 jurisdictions.

NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Agencies
Aid education, research, and advocacy efforts in the real estate industry.

National Association of Realtors
Real estate trade organization that provides information and resources for development of the real estate industry.

Urban Land Institute
Research and education association concerned with responsible land use and creating sustainable communities.