Who can manage a property

14 Replies

My soon-to-be father-in-law owns a rental building. He is in his early 80's now and has been in the rental business for 30+ years. ( Self-managed ) We do help him often with repairs. He recently has gotten sick. Very sick, and they are still trying to figure out what is going on with him. Needless to say, he is not currently able to manage his properties.

The property is deeded to his son ( my fiancé' ) - can he act as the server of process/agent for him? I've been reading that in Wisconsin you have to have a broker license, or be employed by someone with a broker license to do so, but what about a family member who will eventually own the property? I know you do not need a license to self manage your own property. 

Sorry, I was incorrect. The property is deeded to him upon the death of his father.

I think there are only a couple of things you can't do without being a licensed PM or the owner.  I would look into that.  I think sign the lease is one of them.

I think you are correct Glenn, but our worry is he has an issue tenant right not that might need a pay or quit notice and possible eviction. There is just no way he could go to court right now. We are hoping it doesn't come to this though. We are willing to go talk with the tenant to resolve this but not sure we are legally allowed to do so. They will be close to 2 months behind on rent come May. They wrote two bad checks in a row. 

Is the father able to bring the son in as a part owner before death?  Also check with a lawyer and see if a limited power of attorney would be acceptable in the case of illness.

Originally posted by @Paul Ewing :

Is the father able to bring the son in as a part owner before death?  Also check with a lawyer and see if a limited power of attorney would be acceptable in the case of illness.

 I would avoid this if you can.  Coming in as a partial or full owner before death would probably invoke gift taxes.  Here's hoping he pulls through and lives a much longer and healthier life, but in the event he does not, his son will gain the property at a stepped up basis.  That is, at the value of the properties on the date of his father's death, so no tax implications.

Instead, see if the father can sign a power of attorney.  This does not make his son a property manager, it makes him acting on his father's behalf as though he were his father.  Check with a lawyer to be sure (I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice), but I think a limited power of attorney to handle collection of rent from this one tenant would be sufficient and would not make the son an actual property manager.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I think you are correct Glenn, but our worry is he has an issue tenant right not that might need a pay or quit notice and possible eviction. There is just no way he could go to court right now. We are hoping it doesn't come to this though. We are willing to go talk with the tenant to resolve this but not sure we are legally allowed to do so. They will be close to 2 months behind on rent come May. They wrote two bad checks in a row. 

 I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Last year, I accompanied a friend to eviction court.  Her mother was very ill (actually, is now dead) and the daughter was handling a couple of rentals the mother owned.  The daughter has zero knowledge of being a landlord.  Actually, the mother also had very limited knowledge of being a proper landlord.

After the tenant complained in court more than once about being forced to discuss rental business with the daughter and not the mother with whom she signed the lease, the eviction court magistrate said in no uncertain terms that the owner of the property can designate the daughter (or anyone else she chooses, regardless of RE license) to act as her "agent" in these matters. 

After a brief amount of testimony, the magistrate evicted the tenant and gave her ten days to move.

Again, I am not a lawyer and you would do best to ask a local lawyer about laws specific to your state.

Good luck.

Linda Weygant

Exactly. it all works out better tax wise to avoid transferring the property before death.

Randy E.

Thank you, that was very helpful!

We are thinking that his dad will go ahead and sign the 5 day pay or quit, and then we just hope they pay and we can avoid any further actions. We can send it certified mail, rather then trying to deliver in person since he will not be able too, and we can not serve it. If they don't pay, then it looks like we will need to contact a lawyer to see what should or can be done.

A limited power of attorney will work for many legal issues where the owner is not present.

Any adult can serve papers for someone.  

Look on the 3 day notice to pay or quit.  It usually has a section that the server fills out, saying how they served it.  If you post it on the door, you may also have to mail it.  But anybody can hand it to the guy, as far as being a process server.

What state is the property in?  Wisconsin?  If I know what state we're talking about, I can look up the laws for you.

Normally, a real estate license/broker's license is only needed with regard to making the deals with new tenants.  

But, I'd be surprised if any state requires someone to have any kind of license to just serve somebody a notice.

I did learn online that evictions are handled through small claims court in WI.  You can use this program on the court website to fill out your forms:

https://myforms.wicourts.gov/

I'd call the clerk's office and ask them how to be able to represent your father-in-law.  Also ask them if it matters who serves the notice.  The WI court website is pitiful as far as being able to find info LOL.  But, you can just call and ask the clerk.

I did learn that you can have an attorney represent you in small claims court in WI.

Sorry about all the separate posts.  I couldn't help also looking up the WI rules regarding managing a property.  If the son is the father's agent, it looks like he's exempt from the licensing requirement.

http://www.allpropertymanagement.com/propertylaw/p...

Now, if this goes like it usually does, you will now tell me the property is not in Wisconsin...LOL.

Thanks Sue! yes, the property is in Wisconsin. This is a dumb question, but how does one become an 'agent'? Is there some sort of paperwork to file? I also read that an employee would not need to be licensed but not sure if we want to go through all that right now. We are hoping he gets better ;-)

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

Thanks Sue! yes, the property is in Wisconsin. This is a dumb question, but how does one become an 'agent'? Is there some sort of paperwork to file? I also read that an employee would not need to be licensed but not sure if we want to go through all that right now. We are hoping he gets better ;-)

 An agent is just someone who has the authority to act on someone else's behalf.  For instance, a resident manager (like I was) is an "agent" for the owner, and can enter into contracts, and make decisions, etc., as if they are the owner.  Basically, I stepped into the owner's "shoes," as it were.

It's my opinion that you could just write up something like: 

"I, Dad, appoint Son, to act on my behalf as my agent regarding representing me in the eviction of Tenant, until I revoke this authority in writing."

Then have them both sign it.  You can fill it out with whatever terms you like.  Then he can just take that signed document to court if/when he goes to court on Dad's behalf.  I see no need to record this document with the clerk's office.

If he wants to do a limited power of attorney, giving the Son full right to his financial affairs, here is a form for Wisconsin:

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/form/f00036.pdf

Hey @Account Closed

 I run a small PM business in Milwaukee and I think you are over thinking this a bit.  There should be no issue with or your husband filing the eviction for your father in law.  You can always have an attorney do it for you.  Charge for that including filing fee should be about $3-400.  That will take all the headache and emotion out of going to court.  Send the 5 day notice via certified mail so the tenant can't play the game that they didn't receive it.  You will have to fill out an affidavit of non military service and affidavit of service then you are set to file or have your attorney file.  Court date will happen in 1-2 weeks then you get the writ of restitution.  If they don't leave by the time the court says then you will have to hire the sheriff.  I do on average of one eviction a month and have never hired the sheriff.  If you don't think they will leave on there own, tell them you will put a judgement on them for all rent and damages then garnish there wages.  This is usually a good enough empty threat to get people out.

Good luck and hope your father in law gets better.

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