Are apartment communities required to work with every locating company?
No. The law says the property owner has the right to work with any real estate agent. In most states, apartment communities have a signed agreement with each locating company that confirms the commission rate and payment terms. The agreement doesn't expire, but it can be canceled by either party if you no longer want to work together. In Texas most apartment communities don't ask for a signed agreement, but the property owner is not required to work with every locating company. However, if your community is not going to work with every locator, you should notify the locating companies in your area so they don't send clients to your community. NAAL is happy to help notify the locators in your area if there is a change in your policies. Go to our contact page and one of our Property Relations committee members will contact you.
Are apartment communities required to pay every locating company the same commission?
No. Real estate law says the property owner and real estate agent can agree to any commission amount. In states where a signed agreement between the apartment community and apartment locator are common practice, both parties agree to what is fair compensation. If a locating company provides an exceptional level of service to your community, your property owner can compensate them differently than other locating companies you work with. We do recommend you put the commission information in writing to avoid miscommunication, or talk to the broker/owner at the locating company and ask them to provide a commission agreement.
Are apartment locators required to hold a real estate license?
Yes (mostly). In every state except Georgia and Alabama, the real estate licensing board requires apartment locators to hold an active real estate license in their state. The locating invoice is legally a commission check. The law says if a person expects to get paid a commission in exchange for a signed lease, they have to be licensed and obey real estate law. To protect your property against fraudulent invoices, you should verify the broker and the locator have an active license. NAAL does this for free for our preferred property partners. Vendor management/credentialing companies do not verify real estate licenses. Neither does the IRS. A W9 is not proof a locating company is licensed. Go to our contact page and fill out the contact form or send an email and one of our Membership committee members will verify an invoice at your request.