Property Management Law
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.
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.
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.
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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