British Columbia is a province on the move, with population growth skyrocketing by over 50 percent since 1990, and that means development is booming. Property rentals are big business in BC, where real estate prices have made it prohibitive for many people to buy homes. The property management requirements in BC stipulate that you need a license. It’s both a costly and laborious process, but it’ll get you set for a growing job market.

Before You Get Started

Property rental management is not a career to enter lightly. The responsibilities are great, and the challenges are many. It requires the ability to deal with tenants of all kinds and emergencies that require decisive, attentive action. It can be a 24/7 job handling everything from ruptured gas lines to keeping buildings up-to-date with legal permits. Being prepared for everything is a must.

With such responsibilities, this is a job for managers over the age of 19 and who have good standing with no past record. A criminal record check will be required for approval. If you’re unsure what’s on your record, fork out the $28 to get the check completed before you begin this process. If you have convictions or arrests, you may be ineligible for licensing.

There are a couple exemptions to those requiring a property management license. One is a caretaker employed by the owners who does not handle money beyond giving it to the owners. The other is a strata manager who is hired by, or is, one of the strata owners (owners of a subdivided condominium complex or other multi-unit housing classified as strata properties), and who does not manage more than two properties. Consult the Real Estate Council of BC to see if an exemption would be allowed in your case.

Requirements for a Property Management License in BC

The Real Estate Council of BC is responsible for overseeing the licensing of professional property managers. To become licensed, you must attend The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business “Rental Property Management Licensing Course” before getting approved. No other school offers this property management course. This blended-learning program requires students to complete all work within one year and achieve a 70 percent overall grade to be eligible for licensing. Completing the program is only one part of getting licensed, and the tuition is $1,150.

To enroll, applicants must be over the age of 19 and proficient in the English language. It is strongly recommended that all applicants complete the English Language Proficiency Index to at least a Level 7 standard before enrolling, as this is a requirement for licensing. If, however, the applicant has a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution whose instruction language is English, or she has been licensed in real estate elsewhere in Canada where language proficiency was a requirement, then she may be exempt from the requirement of language proficiency testing.

After graduation from the UBC Sauder School RPML program, the aforementioned criminal record check dated within the year is needed before applying for licensing with the BC Real Estate Council.

The first-timer's cost of the Property Management License through the BCREC is $1,800. This includes the two-year licensing fee, Errors & Omissions insurance and Compensation Fund Corporation assessment, all required for management.

The renewal fee after two years, and every two years thereafter, is currently $1,450, but to be eligible, the “Relicensing Education Program” requires completion during every two-year license period. It’s essentially five to six hours of coursework and needs a 70 percent final grade for passing. This certification must be presented to receive a renewal.

The Cost of Business

These fees and programs are required for becoming a property manager in the province of British Columbia. On the upside, such fees are usually eligible as both education and business tax deductions, so be sure to keep your receipts.