Do You Have to Be a Licensed Real Estate Broker to Collect Rent for Rental Properties?

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Real estate brokers and property managers play vital roles in the real estate industry, linking home buyers and tenants to property sellers and owners. Each state regulates its own real estate license programs and requirements, but a landlord's agent who collects rent does not need to be a licensed real estate agent or have any other form of formal certification.

Requirements for Brokers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every state requires real estate brokers and agents who facilitate purchases and sales of real estate that they don't own to have state-issued licenses. This ensures that the only people who are conducting home sales are knowledgeable of local real estate law and that home owners and buyers can trust the agents and brokers they employ. Brokers typically must pass a licensing exam and pay a fee to earn a license.

Property Managers

Property managers are distinct from real estate agents and brokers because they do not actually facilitate property sales. Instead, they manage the day-to-day physical and financial operations of other peoples' property. For example, a property manager may work for a landlord and live on-site at an apartment complex or oversee multiple rental homes that a landlord or company owns. Property managers have the right to collect rent from tenants and pursue late rent, all without a license or certification.

Property Manager Licensure

State and federal laws require property managers to have licenses to engage in certain activities. For example, a property manager who does get involved in the sale process needs an appropriate real estate license for her role in the sale. This means that some property managers who collect rent do have professional licenses to perform other job duties. In addition, property managers who run federally funded public housing need special licenses to do so. Property managers without such licenses can't collect public housing rent, though unlicensed landlords and their unlicensed agents may participate in other housing programs, such as Section 8 subsidies.

Licensed Agents and Rent

In other cases, licensed real estate agents or brokers collect rent. Here again, a real estate professional with a license collects rent for a landlord, but has the license in order to be able to sell property. While property managers with or without licenses may serve as regular employees or work on a contractual basis, licensed real estate agents and brokers who collect rent usually do so as contract workers for a landlord. For example, a real estate agent may collect rent and manage a property as part of the process of preparing it for sale; only the sale portion of the process requires the agent to have a license.

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