The New Mexico Real Estate Commission (NMREC) has determined that Residential Property Managers are the cause of far too many claims and general harm caused to the public. These claims come from unprofessional managers and range from poor service to fraud, theft and other illegal acts. These actions have caused harm to the general public ranging from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a result they have formed a Property Management Committee to investigate how to reduce claims and increase professionalism in the residential management business. As an experienced and longstanding professional management company in New Mexico, T & C Management has been attending the committee meetings so as to understand and perhaps collaborate on a solution moving forward.
- Create an ombudsman program (e.g. GAAR) for complaints and have this program attempt to resolve complaints before they reach the NMREC. This would resolve many of the lesser complaints such as poor customer service and misunderstandings, etc., allowing the NMREC to have time to address the more serious ones.
- Expand the NMREC rules to state what activities unlicensed residential property management assistants are and are not allowed to perform. This would be similar to what already exists in the sales arena. Requirements to enter this business are fairly simple, and we do not believe they need to be onerous. Forms, rules, and contracts are standardized such that an intensive education and license is simply not needed for someone such as a leasing representative or someone who is assisting the responsible person / qualifying broker in residential management.
- Add a requirement for property managers to be bonded. This would be done with the intention of covering loss / general harm to the public. Bonds are inexpensive and and would parallel the required E & O Insurance already in place for licensed professionals. Unfortunately, there is never coverage for fraud, theft or illegal acts by professionals, licensed or not.
- Mandate education in the property management field. We believe that anyone working in this business should, at a minimum, be required to attend classes on the Owner Tenant Relations Act, Fair Housing, and NMREC ethics and rules for property managers. These classes would provide sufficient, overall education on the basic laws governing this business. In addition, brokers / qualifying brokers should be able to get CE credits on credentialing programs and classes which increase the professionalism in this field.
- Broker in charge. The way the NMREC rules are written place an emphasis on the responsible person. This term equates to the licensed professional in charge of that sales or property management activity, i.e. the qualifying broker or associate broker. It would be ideal for Property Management Brokers in the residential area to have specific training and / or credentials in directing and managing such activity.
While this is not an all inclusive list, it’s good to see the NMREC agenda continuing to address the needs of the greater public.
If you are an owner looking for a residential manager, or a member of the public looking for a rental, make sure you chose a manager and/or company that’s professional, trained in residential management, has a longstanding history of success in this business, and the qualifying broker is an active and functioning member of the company.
By Jeff Zank, ARM