Landlord Tenant Q&A
CATHERINE M. MATTHEWS (R), GRI
Broker-In Charge, Callahan Realty, Ltd.
Past President, Oahu Chapter
National Association of Residential Property Mangers
Q. I have owned a small home for a number of years. I am now moving to the Mainland to be closer to my children and grandchildren. I will need to hire a property manager to take care of the rental for me. I have talked to a number of real estate agents and asked if they had a property management license, but none of them had this credential. I was under the impression that property managers needed to be licensed. Is this true and what should I look for in a manager?
A. In Hawaii, to manage property for more than one owner you must have a real estate license. This is not the case everywhere; licensing laws differ from state to state. Looking back years ago, when I attended school to obtain my salesman’s license and then my broker’s license, the high concentration of class time was spent on residential sales, basic contract law, ethics, and duty. There was very little time spent on management, either residential or commercial. As our legislature has decided that one license fits all, it seems to me that the real estate commission has designed the classes to fit the majority, and the majority of people go into residential sales. With the laws being what they are, I agree that this makes the most sense. This does leave a large void in knowledge for licensees wanting to manage residential or commercial properties.
A real estate agent wanting to represent their client well in residential property management has to actively seek knowledge on their own. There are several classes approved by the real estate commission for continuing education that deal specifically with property management. Licensees are required to take continuing education each year and can choose classes according to their interests or specialties. Agents that have earned their GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) have taken a number of extended classes, one of which focuses specifically on property management.
The authors of these Sunday articles all have one common thread. We are all presidents (either past or current) of the Oahu Chapter of NARPM, National Association of Residential Property Managers. The mission of the organization is to support ethical practices in property management through education and networking. This is a national organization with local chapters. The Oahu Chapter is the largest in the country with 175 members. Members of this organization are committed to additional education and ethical standards. They have sought out other property managers with whom to network, learn, and share information.
Although there are good managers that do not belong to this organization, looking among the 175 members may be a good start in your interview process. Keep in mind; you are ultimately responsible for the actions of whoever represents you. I would suggest asking if your prospective agent is familiar with the Landlord-Tenant Code and Federal Fair Housing Laws. You can then get into leases, terms, fees, inspections, reporting etc. In my personal opinion, choosing someone who is knowledgeable in this specialized area with values and goals for your investment that mirror your own is most important. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions and expect direct answers. This is your investment; find someone who will take good care of it; there are a lot of qualified agents on our island.
Answers to questions in Landlord Tenant Q&A are provided by members of the Oahu Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), an organization that supports the professional and ethical practices of rental home management through networking, education, and certification. The Oahu Chapter, founded in 2004, has become the largest in the nation with 175 registered members. Disclaimer: The answers provided in this column by Realtors address individual cases and should not be construed as interpretations of the law. For specific information on Hawaii State Law, go to http:// hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/ocp/landlord_tenant or contact an attorney.