|Proposed Legislation Would Require Certification Of Property Managers
By Bob Hunt
California Assemblyman, Rob Bonta, has introduced a bill (AB 2618) that would require educational courses and certification for landlords and property managers. In support of his proposal, the author says this:
“Millions of Californians rent the place they call home. With increasing housing costs the number of renters in the state is estimated to continue growing. While current law prohibits landlords from engaging in discriminatory behavior, there is no formal education on fair housing or tenant rights that landlords are required to have in order to rent a unit. AB 2618 would take a proactive approach to ensuring landlords are aware of all fair housing and tenant rights laws by creating a certification program to be administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs. Certification will be granted upon completion of educational classes on compliance with relevant parts of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, evictions and notices, resident issues and tenant rights. This certification will be effective for a period of two years and must be renewed.
By mandating certification of all landlords and property managers, we are ensuring that the individuals who control the homes of millions of Californians are aware of the laws they should abide by when renting their residential properties. AB 2618 is a necessary ingredient to protect tenants and keep a safe roof over their heads. The history, culture, and character of our communities suffer when residents live with no security.”
Under existing law only licensed real estate brokers can engage, for compensation, in property management, with certain exceptions. The most notable exception is that for “resident managers.” The law requires landlords of apartment buildings having 16 or more units to have a resident manager, or other responsible person living on the premises, to manage the property if the landlord himself does not live there. As the author of the bill notes, the resident manager “is often hired by virtue of the fact that he or she already is a responsible, reliable tenant living in the apartment building, and is typically compensated by the landlord through a partial reduction in rent.”
Neither resident managers nor landlords who self-manage properties of less than 16 units are subject to any education or training requirements. The point of the bill is “to ensure that the individuals who control the homes of millions of Californians are aware of the laws they should abide by when renting their residential properties.”
The bill provides that those subject to its requirements would receive at least four hours, but no more than eight hours of instruction. Course content and providers would be as determined by the Department of Consumer affairs. “The coursework shall include training on compliance with the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51), the California Fair Employment and Housing Act…and regulations that may be issued thereunder…”
Also, the coursework “shall include training on rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants…” This would include subjects covering habitability requirements, preparation and service of notices, rights and responsibilities related to entry, collection and uses of security deposits, limitations on inquiry about citizenship status, and protections for victims of domestic abuse.
We have noted that, currently, a licensed broker or one working under the supervision of a broker may engage in property management. Licensees would not be required to take these courses or to receive certification. Nonetheless, AB 2816 does address a perceived deficiency in the current system.
As it now stands, a broker or licensee engaged in property management does not have to have taken a course in property management, tenant rights, etc. Many such courses are available pursuant to continuing education requirements. AB 2618 states that licensees engaged in property management would be required to take such property management courses as offered under supervision of the Department of Real Estate.
The provisions of the bill would become operative on January 1, 2020. Persons subject to its requirements would have until June 30, 2020 to obtain certification.
Source: Realty Times