Do you need a license to be a property manager?

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Two white front doors on the front porch of a yellow duplex.

03/12/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Can an unlicensed person be a property manager?

It depends. A license is required for anyone who controls the acceptance or deposit of rent from a resident of a single-family property if the person has the authority to do any of the following:

  • Use the rent to pay for services related to management of the property
  • Determine where to deposit the rent
  • Sign checks or withdraw money from a trust account.

In addition, only a licensed broker or salesperson may perform leasing activities, such as finding tenants, showing properties for lease, and negotiating leases. However, there are certain activities that do not require a license, including bookkeeping or arranging for repairs.

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Categories: Legal
Tags: property management, legal faq


Mike McEwen on 03/12/2015

A non-licensed person may manage property if he is a statutory employee of the property owner.

Jeanette on 03/12/2015

I get so tired of the ‘reading-interpreting’ between the lines. There needs to be a simple explanation about what non-licensed people can and cannot do. Everyone saying, ‘if you work for an owner’ or ‘if you’re’ this and that and everyone gets confused. Make it simple! A non-licensed person cannot manage property—clarify that.

Mike McEwen on 03/12/2015

That is great news.  Thanks for the insight.  I do believe that some of the statutes need to be changed to give more leeway for unlicensed assistants who have good broker supervision.

Ward Lowe on 03/12/2015

@Mike: These comments are monitored by TAR Communications staff (like me), and we often forward comments to TAR Legal staff for review. The review could trigger internal discussions about the post—maybe even a clarification or correction—but more important, it informs our decisions about future topics to address. So, while the attorneys don’t answer questions in the comments or via email—you’ll have to call the Legal Hotline (800-873-9155) for that—they do know what’s going on in the comments.

Mike McEwen on 03/12/2015

It would be great if the lawyers respond to these comments.  I will not hold my breath.

Bob Latham on 03/12/2015

D Carrington - I don’t believe the laws (same typically applies to most laws) care what the frequency of the act is - if it’s prohibited without a license, it’s prohibited without a license. It would NOT be required if you OWN those properties or are employed directly by the owner.

D Clark - As I understand it, your “person” doesn’t require a license, IF she is an employee for the principal, which is you. She could do anything needed including showings and negotiating leases. If she is not employed, but rather is an independent contractor, then licensing rules apply.

Mike - I believe your last two sentences agree with what was said, which was “However, there are certain activities that do NOT [emph. added] require a license, including bookkeeping or arranging for repairs”.

D. Carrington on 03/12/2015

Does a person that does short-term rentals (weekend, vacation) on a regular basis required to have a real estate license?

D Clark on 03/12/2015

I agree with Mike’s comments above.  I own rental property and I have a person that collects the rent and occasionally pays a bill with cash.  She also will show some of the rent houses.  She doesn’t “determine where to deposit the rent” we tell her to take it to the bank and deposit it in our account.  But I still negotiate and sign the leases.  These rules sound good, but as practical manner it doesn’t happen.

Mike McEwen on 03/12/2015

I have gotten conflicting responses form TREC and TAR legal counsel on this.  Your explanation is also weak.  You need to address the difference between a non-licensed person who works in an apartment complex vs. on who works in a R.E. office that manages many types of residential dwellings, e.g., duplexes, fourplexes, single family dwellings.  If an unlicensed individual may hold an open house w/out negotiating, why can’t an unlicensed person take a prospect to look at a rental w/out negotiating?  TRELA needs to be modified.  There is no reason why a properly trained administrative assistant should not be able to write checks to contractors and clients and make deposits into the trust account.  That is also known as bookkeeping.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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