IREM Blogs

Foreign Countries Embrace Professional Property Managers

June 10, 2019 | John Salustri

There’s a global movement afoot.  So says IREM® President Don Wilkerson, CPM, in his latest column for NREI. It’s a movement toward legislating the need for professionals in property management. We’re seeing it in such far-flung places as Japan and, most recently, Serbia.

“This is true progress,” he writes, “not only for the global practice of property management, which clearly it is, but equally for the Republic of Serbia. Housing is above all a cultural issue. It speaks most directly to the health and wellbeing of those residents. It is a right, not a privilege, and a country that can address that right is demonstrating an advanced cultural awareness.”

(In an ironic aside, he points to our own country, and its “struggle to provide adequate workforce and affordable housing.”)

Serbia is not alone, and Wilkerson cites the January/February issue of the Journal of Property Management, from which he quotes Teruo Suenaga, CPM, CEO of Amix Co., Ltd in Tokyo: “There is a large chance that a law for the management of rental housing will be passed in 2019.” Suenaga stated that there, it’s a matter of registration. “Currently, 4,000 management companies across Japan are registered, but this system is voluntary, so you can operate without registering.”

But the issue picked up steam when a management company that was not part of the system went belly-up. “It became a major issue,” he explained. “Now the government is considering legislating the system and requiring property management companies to register. As an industry, there’s support for requiring registration that would eliminate irresponsible managers.”

This could increase the prospects for managers in Japan . . . eventually. “If the rental housing law passes in 2019 and the management industry gains more recognition,” Suenaga said, “those of us in the industry would be incredibly happy. However, once the law is passed, it will be over a year until it goes into effect.”

The implications of professional property management are huge, Wilkerson writes. “Professionalism implies the presence of standards, best practices and ethics,” he says. “At the very least, it implies the existence of a track record and knowledge of what works and doesn’t work.”

“Of course, the operative word there is ‘implies,’ ” he continues. “Ethics and standards are two of the bulwarks of property management in the US, regardless of the property type. Along with ongoing education, they also form the three legs of the platform on which IREM stands. Indeed, with an ethics framework in place to guide the performance of its individual members, we believe that the vagaries of implications can be replaced with clear-cut standards of operation.”

He recalls the growth of IREM’s own global footprint, with chapters now in Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Korea and South Africa, and observes that, “We continue to spread the word of professionalism in property management. This presence provides a unifying focus of best practices.

“As our net continues to spread, and more countries follow the lead of Serbia and Japan, despite bureaucratic delays,” he concludes, “the role of property management continues to elevate, from one-off, isolated endeavors to a unified and trusted profession. That’s progress in anyone’s book.”

John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of

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