Does a Close Relative Need a
Property Manager's License?
Robert S. Griswold | Steven R. Kellman | Ted Smith
This column on issues confronting renters and landlords is written
by Counselor of Real Estate and
Certified Property Manager Robert Griswold, host of Real
Estate Today! with Robert Griswold (9 a.m.
Saturdays on AM1130 - KSDO radio, or on the Internet
and by attorneys Steven R. Kellman, director of the
Tenants' Legal Center, and Ted Smith, principal in a law
firm representing landlords.
QUESTION: My parents own a lot in Los Angeles with
two single- family homes on it, both rented. Because my parents
recently moved into their retirement home 75 miles away, they asked me
to manage the property for them (i.e. collect rent, schedule repairs,
However, one of the tenants is refusing to deal
with me, saying that I do not have the necessary licensing to be a
manager. Do I really need to obtain a real estate/property manager's
license to assist my parents? I receive no pay.
ANSWER: Smith: California's real estate
licensing law extends to property management activities. These include
negotiating leases and collecting rents. There are certain
requirements and some people are excluded. The state will probably
look at the relationship between the parties and whether a fee or
other consideration is given.
Rental owners and operators may run their own
rental properties without being licensed. An on-site resident
apartment manager is not required to be licensed.
In this case, I see you managing the property with
your parents as an owner/operator. You are not receiving a fee and you
are a member of their immediate family. Based on these facts, you make
a good case for falling outside the scope and jurisdiction of the
licensing requirements mandated by the California Department of Real
Griswold: While I agree with Smith's
analysis in this particular situation, there are limitations on the
interpretation of the familial relationship or even the issue of no
compensation. For example, you would be considered an immediate family
member here but if you are asked by your cousin to manage their rental
property you have probably crossed the line and would need a license.
Also, just because you are not getting paid
directly for the limited property management duties you are currently
performing does not mean that your services are entirely gratuitous.
For example, a real estate license may be required if you were
managing the property until the current leases expired and then you
would sell the property and receive a commission.
I would strongly suggest that you consider taking
real estate and property management courses that would give you more
knowledge in the field as well as preparing you to qualify as a real
estate salesperson or broker. You may find that you enjoy managing
real estate and would like to pursue other property management
A rug's life
Can a landlord/agency deduct money from my security
deposit when I move out for carpet cleaning/repair even though they
plan to replace the carpet with new carpet before the next tenant
Smith: As the landlord's attorney, I believe
it is reasonable for your owner to deduct a carpet cleaning charge
against your security deposit even though the landlord plans to
replace the carpet when you vacate. California's security deposit law
states that you remain responsible for reasonable cleaning to the
rental. If carpet replacement is the only viable option then the
landlord should be entitled to that entire cost.
I advise my clients to prorate the carpet expenses
by comparing the customary life given to rental property carpet
against the tenant's length of stay. Even so, if your landlord can
prove that you caused most of the carpet damage while you were living
there, then you will be responsible for the entire replacement cost.
Days of our strife
I am on a month-to-month rental agreement at a
rental house near the beach. I've just received a 30-day notice to
vacate in the middle of the month. The legal notice states I must be
out by the 20th of next month and there is no reason stated.
My concern is that the 20th is not the most
convenient time for me to move as I prefer the 10th of next month. If
I go ahead and leave early do I have to pay for the balance of the 10
days until their notice to vacate expires? Can't I just pay for the
days that I am actually there?
Griswold: You can not unilaterally move out
before the 30 days and just prorate the rent without the mutual
agreement of the landlord. Thus, you should immediately contact the
landlord to reach an agreement and then be sure to record the details
in writing. Otherwise, if you were to just leave and attempt to only
pay partial rent, the landlord would be within rights to deduct the
balance of 10 days from your security deposit or seek the funds in
small claims court. If you cannot reach the landlord on the phone to
discuss the matter, I suggest that you send the landlord a written
request indicating that you will be glad to leave but that you need to
be out on the 10th and are willing to pay through the 10th only.
YOU'RE A TENANT OR LANDLORD, the authors stand ready to
answer your questions in this column, although letters
cannot be answered individually. Write them at: Rental
Roundtable, Homes Section, San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O.
Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191. Or you may e-mail
them at email@example.com
2002 Rental Roundtable
Robert Griswold and the Real Estate
Today! radio show strongly support the intent and the letter of all federal and
state fair housing laws. As a reminder to all owners and managers of real
estate, note that all real estate advertised is subject to the Federal Fair
Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference,
limitation, discrimination because of race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex,
physical disability, or familial status, or intention to make any such
preference, limitation or discrimination." Additional state and/or local
fair housing laws may also apply. Be sure to inform all persons that all
dwellings offered or advertised are on an equal opportunity basis.
Revised and Updated -
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Robert S. Griswold, CRE, CPM, CCIM,
PCAM, GRI, ARM
Griswold Corporate Center
Griswold Real Estate Management, Inc.
5703 Oberlin Drive, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121-1743
Phone: (858) 597-6100
Fax: (858) 597-6161
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