Property Management Law


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What is Property Management Law?

Property Management Laws are those statutes and regulations that govern the professionals responsible for managing properties such as apartments, homeowners associations, condominiums, office buildings, cooperatives, and the like.

Professional Obligations

In most states, property managers must be licensed. This typically involves either holding a degree or taking a course on property management and passing some form of written examination. Licensing also usually requires a background check, and criminal convictions for crimes of dishonesty or felonies may disqualify an applicant. After obtaining a license, most jurisdictions require continuing education and payment of annual fees to maintain a license in good standing.

Property managers owe a fiduciary duty to the communities or buildings they represent. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty owed at law, and requires the property manager to always act in the best interests of their clients. This means avoiding conflicts of interest and opportunities for self-gain that would work to the detriment of the client. This duty is owed to the community as a whole, though, not to each individual resident within the community.

Homeowners Association and Condominium Laws

Much of property management law is intertwined with the laws of the communities they represent. Property managers are expected to know and understand these laws and assist their communities in administering their obligations under them and the associations' governing documents. Examples of common obligations property managers help associations fulfill include collecting assessments, paying association financial obligations, making annual reports to state agencies, ensuring compliance by residents with the rules of the association, and so forth.

Professional Organizations

Though not technically governing bodies, there are a number of professional organizations related to property management. Many of these are instrumental in lobbying for laws related to both communities and property managers. They are also sources of information about trends in the property management industry and local legal news.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

One other area of increasing concern for property managers in recent years have been decisions by several states indicating that certain functions performed by property managers may constitute the unauthorized practice of law. It is important for property managers to work closely with legal counsel to ensure that they do not inadvertently violate the law through common practices like preparing and recording claims of lien, sending demand letters, or advising the client's board of directors on the state of the law relating to a particular issue.

More Information

For more information about property management law, please review the materials below or contact an attorney in your area who focuses on community association or property management law. To find an attorney in your area, please visit our Law Firms page.

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Property Management Law - US

  • ABA - Commercial Real Estate Transactions Group

    This group analyzes the transactional and ownership issues which confront commercial real estate attorneys when dealing with land transfers, construction, brokerage services, servitudes, title insurance, property and liability insurance, and ownership of commercial real estate. Each committee within the group focuses on one of these topics.

  • Certified Property Manager (CPM)

    The challenges in today’s job market—from industry consolidation and increased competition to being expected to do more with less—make it harder for you to prove your experience and your credibility. The CPM designation can demonstrate your expertise and integrity to those who matter most—employers, owners and investors.

  • Community Association Manager Licensing

    CAI encourages the national certification of community association managers. In states that propose mandatory regulation of community association managers, CAI will support a regulatory system that incorporates adequate protections for homeowners, mandatory education, and testing on fundamental management knowledge, standards of conduct and appropriate insurance requirements. CAI opposes the licensing of community association managers as real estate brokers, agents or property managers.

  • Federal Real Property Council (FRPC)

    The FRPC was created according to provisions in Executive Order 13327, "Federal Real Property Asset Management," signed by President George W. Bush on February 4, 2004. Executive Order 13327 states: "The policy of the United States is to promote efficient and economical use of America's real property assets and to assure management accountability for implementing federal real property management reforms."

  • Property Management - Wikipedia

    Property management is the operation of commercial, industrial or residential real estate. This is much akin to the role of management in any business. Property management is also the management of personal property, equipment, tooling and physical capital assets that are acquired and used to build, repair and maintain end item deliverables. Property management involves the processes, systems and manpower required to manage the life cycle of all acquired property as defined above including acquisition, control, accountability, responsibility, maintenance, utilization, and disposition.

  • Property Owners and Managers Survey (POMS)

    The Property Owners and Managers Survey (POMS) Overview, Summary Tables, and Source and Accuracy Statement are now available from the U.S. Census Bureau. POMS was designed to learn more about rental housing and the providers of rental housing. The purpose was to gain a better understanding of the property owners and managers on whom the nation depends to provide affordable rental housing and what motivates their rental and maintenance policies.

  • Public Housing Authorities Directors Association

    Founded in 1979, PHADA represents the professional administrators of approximately 1,900 housing authorities throughout the United States. PHADA works closely with members of Congress in efforts to develop sensible and effective public housing statutes and obtain adequate funding for low-income housing programs. The association also serves as an advocate before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a variety of regulations governing public housing nationwide.

  • Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA)

    Public housing reform is represented through the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA). QHWRA was signed by President Clinton on October 21, 1998 and is found in Title V of HUD’s FY1999 appropriations act (P.L. 105-276).

  • Real Estate Management Code of Professional Ethics

    The purpose of this Code of Professional Ethics is to establish and maintain public confidence in the honesty, integrity, professionalism, and ability of the professional real estate manager. The Institute of Real Estate Management and its Members intend that this Code and performance pursuant to its provisions will be beneficial to the general public and will contribute to the continued development of a mutually beneficial relationship among Certified Property Manager® Members, CPM® Candidates, Accredited Residential Manager® Members, Accredited Commercial Manager Members, Associate Members, and other Members, national and international professional real estate associations and organizations, and clients, employers, and the public.

  • US General Services Administration - Real Property Management

    GSA develops, promotes, and assesses compliance with management policies and regulations for the effective and efficient stewardship of federal real property assets and alternative workplaces. GSA provides information and data on federal and commercial real estate, the workplace, and related services.

Organizations Related to Property Management Law

  • Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)

    The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1907, its 16,000-plus members own or manage more than nine billion square feet of commercial properties. BOMA International’s mission is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information..

  • Community Associations Institute (CAI)

    Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, competent, harmonious community associations. For more than 30 years, CAI has been the leader in providing education and resources to the volunteer homeowners who govern community associations and the professionals who support them. Our members include community association volunteer leaders, professional managers, community management firms and other professionals and companies that provide products and services to associations.

  • Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)

    The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) has been the source for education, resources, information, and membership for real estate management professionals for more than 75 years. An affiliate of the National Association of Realtors®, IREM is the only professional real estate management association serving both the multi-family and commercial real estate sectors. With 80 U.S. chapters, 13 international chapters, and several other partnerships around the globe, IREM is an international organization that also serves as an advocate on issues affecting the real estate management industry.

  • National Association of Realtors

    The National Association of Realtors strives to be the collective force influencing and shaping the real estate industry. It seeks to be the leading advocate of the right to own, use, and transfer real property; the acknowledged leader in developing standards for efficient, effective, and ethical real estate business practices; and valued by highly skilled real estate professionals and viewed by them as crucial to their success.

Publications Related to Property Management Law

  • HUD Guidebook - Private Management of Public Housing

    Under intense pressure to stretch resources, both healthy and distressed public housing authorities (PHAs) increasingly are exploring private management of their properties. To help PHAs weigh the many issues involved, HUD's practical new Private Management of Public Housing: A Guidebook draws on the experiences of PHAs that have used private management and on the insights of private owners, managers, and financiers of multifamily dwellings.

  • Journal of Property Management

    Published bi-monthly by IREM, the Journal of Property Management offers comprehensive coverage of the real estate management industry. Each issue is filled with expert insight on trends and issues affecting all property types.

  • Property Management: 9 Essential Qualities of a Third-Party Manager

    Property management is often in demand when the brokerage side of business is slow. However, success in this specialty doesn’t come easy. Here are the skills you need, experts say. Commitment to customer service. You need to respect your tenants and empathize with their concerns.

Articles on HG.org Related to Property Management Law

  • Unmarried and in a Relationship: Protecting Your Rights with a Cohabitation Agreement in Massachusetts
    Massachusetts does not recognize any rights for a couple that cohabit. This means that if your in an unmarried relationship and it fails, you do not have the right to palimony, separate support, alimony, property division or claim for loss of consortium. On top of this, the Commonwealth does not recognize “common law marriage”.
  • The Unfortunate Rise of Civil Asset Forfeiture
    The rise of civil asset forfeiture as a means of increasing government revenues.
  • When is it Okay Not to Pay Rent
    Leases are tricky things. They are a combination of contract laws, agreements between the parties, and laws and regulations that relate to landlords and tenants, housing standards, zoning, safety, etc. As a result, although a lease agreement may say you have to pay rent always and under every circumstance, there are plenty of times when one of these other laws may intervene.
  • What are Fiduciary Duties?
    We often hear that someone owes us a fiduciary duty, whether in a business setting, certain transactions, or even a condo/co-op or homeowners association. But what is a fiduciary duty, how does a fiduciary relationship arise, and what are its implications?
  • Spring Housing Market in Chicago Sprouting New Growth
    With the spring buying season quickly approaching, both buyers and sellers are wondering what the new season will have in store for the housing market in Chicago. According to a new report, the landscape for the housing market may not be as daunting as past seasons. The number of homes for sale has been slowly declining, giving both buyers and sellers a little more confidence and helping list prices stabilize.
  • Disputes over Boundary Lines
    Property records are not always clear when it comes to defining the boundary lines that belong to the owner. Due to the vagueness, many boundary disputes can arise. When your property sits along the line of another person’s property questions may come up as to how far each of your line of ownership extends.
  • An Overview of Ancillary Probate in New York
    Ancillary probate is that area of law that deals with out of state property owned by a decedent and how it is managed and liquidated. Real property is subject to the laws of the state for where it is located. When a person dies, his or her estate will go into probate. During probate the executor or personal representative will be named.
  • When House Flipping Turns Illegal
    Flipping a house is a practice that has been done by many. While it can be done effectively, providing those who take the time to do it fast and beneficial rewards, it can also be done illegally in some cases, crossing legal guidelines that are imposed by the government.
  • Legal Obligations and Liabilities of Condominium Homeowners’ Associations for the Common Areas in California Law
    Legal obligations and liabilities of condominium homeowners’ associations under the Davis-Stirling Act under California law for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the common areas of the condominium property.
  • Commercial Lease Terms - Advanced
    Some tenants need special lease provisions, for example, medical practices and businesses in the computer industries. In this article, the author discusses special, advanced lease provisions that tenants frequently need.
  • All Real Estate Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Real Estate including: construction law, eminent domain, foreclosure, homeowners association, land use and zoning, landlord and tenant law, property law, property management.


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