Property Management

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, chances are you’ve encountered a property manager.

If you hire an independent contractor or firm (brokerage) to manage your properties, including finding tenants, signing leases, or holding deposit money, that contractor or brokerage must hold a licence with RECA.

Renters, if you’re signing a lease, find out if the person you are dealing with owns the property or is an employee of the property owner. If not, they must hold a licence with RECA.

Property management is:

  • leasing, negotiating, approving or offering to lease real estate
  • collecting or offering or attempting to collect money payable for the use of real estate
  • holding money received in connection with the rental of real estate
  • advertising, negotiating or any other act, directly or indirectly for the purpose of furthering the above activity

Owners managing their own property do not need a licence for these activities.

If you hire a handy-person or site operator who does not perform the tasks listed above, but otherwise maintains the property, they do not require a licence.

Information Bulletin: Trading in Real Estate – Property Management


Not all landlords have the time or desire to manage their rental property, whether they have a single unit or a portfolio of dozens. This is where a licensed property manager can help.

What can property managers do?

A licensed property manager can:

  • Find suitable tenants
  • Properly draft lease agreements
  • Provide flexibility and convenience if you live far away from your rental property
  • Regularly inspect the property
  • Collect rents
  • Maintain the property
  • Deal with nuisance tenants

Property management professionals can work with landlords and/or tenants in the leasing of real estate. A licence to provide property management services allows an individual to do so for all types of properties: commercial, residential and rural real estate.

There are a number of things you should consider when making the decision whether or not to hire a property manager for a residential or commercial investment property you own.

  • How much time do you have?
  • Have you managed investment property in the past?
  • How many investment properties/units do you own?
  • Do you live close to your investment properties?

Managing investment property can take up a significant amount of your time, and it requires specialized knowledge – of rules, industry standards and legislation. Please consider the four questions above and then consider how hiring a property manager could possibly benefit you.

As a property owner, you’ll need to negotiate the specific tasks that a property manager will handle on your behalf and you’ll need to discuss compensation. Just like the specific tasks to be performed, the compensation you’ll pay to a property manager is also negotiable.

Make sure you deal directly with the property owner, or with a licensed property manager. If a person who is not the owner collects your rent, signed your lease, or holds your deposit, make sure they hold a licence by doing a quick search using the Find a Licensee tool. If the property manager you deal with does not hold a licence, contact RECA immediately. Unlicensed practice can result in fines of up to $25,000 per property management activity.

Rental Fraud Red Flags

If a person owns the property they are renting out they don’t need a property management licence. Scammers may claim to own the property to explain why they don’t come up in the licence search. Be on the lookout for rental fraud red flags, like:

  • out-of-town landlords
  • online-only interactions
  • rates well below market value
  • urgency or pressure to provide a deposit:
    • without first viewing the property interior
    • without signing a lease or rental agreement
    • by eTransfer

Download the rental fraud information sheet (pdf) for more information.

Ask Questions

The fraud sales pitch often tries to discourage critical thinking. Ask questions. Ask them questions about the property and the process. Ask yourself questions about the process and how it makes you feel.

  • Is the person licensed? Or do they own the property?
  • Is the online ad too good to be true? Is it urgent?
  • Have you met the landlord/property manager in person?
  • Have you seen the inside of the property?
  • Have they asked questions about you?
  • Have you discussed the terms of a lease?
    • If you have a copy of the lease agreement, look for all the blank spaces where information will be filled in. Have you agreed on all the variables?
  • Have you signed a lease?
    • When you signed the lease, were there red flags during the process? The order of the steps should be:
      • you sign the lease
      • the property manager or landlord signs the lease
      • then you pay the deposit. Never provide money before the lease is signed by both you and the landlord/property manager. And, if you’re working with a property manager, always pay the deposit and rent directly to their brokerage (the property management company). Get a receipt.
      • and finally, you get the keys and move in
    • any step out of order should be explained and agreed to. Ask questions.

Read Everything

Review the lease, contracts, or other agreements carefully. Don’t let the landlord or property manager pressure you into signing anything before you’ve read it and are confident you understand it. If you’re signing it, you’re agreeing to it. Be confident you know what you’re agreeing to.

Get Legal Advice

The potential cost of a bad contract far out-weighs the cost of a good legal advice.

Condominium management and property management are related but are not the same thing. Condominium managers work for a condominium board to manage the duties and activities of the board, such as arranging property landscaping and cleaning. Property managers work with property owners to rent real estate.

Collecting and holding money

If a condominium manager collects the money payable to the condominium corporation, deposits it directly into the condominium corporation’s account, and they are not carrying out any other activities that fall under the definition of trading in real estate (such as property management), they do not require a licence.

If a condominium manager deposits the money payable to the condominium corporation into the management company’s account for any period of time, no matter how short, they do require a property management licence.

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