24.210.805 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TRUST ACCOUNT REQUIREMENTS
(1) Each property manager will maintain a trust account wherein all deposits, rent payments, or other trust funds received by the property manager, on behalf of any other person, shall be deposited.
(a) Offices or firms having more than one property manager may utilize a single trust account.
(b) A property manager may maintain more than one trust account, but each trust account must be maintained separately.
(2) The trust account must be readily accessible, insured in a financial institution located in Montana, and identified by the words "trust account." All monies, belonging to others and accepted by the property manager, shall be deposited in an insured account at an institution located in Montana, and identified by the words "trust account." Trust funds must be liquid and may not be maintained in sweep accounts, invested in certificates of deposit or repurchase agreements, or any other method which places trust funds at risk. The property manager must account for trust funds at all times.
(3) Trust funds may be maintained in interest-bearing accounts with the interest payable to the property manager, principal, third-party, or any other person, as may be designated by written agreement. Interest payable to the property manager shall be identified by written agreement as consideration for services performed and will be considered personal funds unless otherwise designated.
(4) Maintenance of the trust account is the responsibility of the property manager.
(a) A property manager may delegate authority for maintenance of a trust account to a designated property manager with whom the property manager is employed or associated. Delegation shall not relieve either property manager from responsibility for any failure to comply with these trust account requirements whether by the delegating property manager or the designated property manager.
(b) Property managers are responsible for all funds deposited into the trust account by them or their property management staff.
(5) The property manager will not be disciplined for a negative account or ledger balance that occurs only as the result of a deposit that was dishonored after the financial institution had indicated the funds were available.
(6) A property manager may deposit and keep a sum not to exceed $1000 of a property manager's personal funds in the trust account, which sum includes any interest earned on the trust account if the trust account is maintained in an interest-bearing account and the interest accrues to the property manager. Personal funds may be distributed for trust account bank charges, related trust account maintenance expenses, and when due and payable to the property manager. If personal funds are held in the trust account, a chronological ledger must be kept showing all deposits and disbursements of personal funds. The record entries must clearly identify the parties to a transaction, the dates, and the amounts received. When depositing funds, the date of the deposit, the source of funds, and the amount must be shown. When disbursing funds, the date of the disbursement, the name of the payee, and the amount must be shown. A running balance must be shown after each entry.
(7) Funds deposited in a property manager trust account, in connection with a property management transaction, shall not be commingled with the property manager's personal funds or other funds in the trust account.
(8) All monies belonging to others, which are received by a property manager in a lease or rental transaction, must be deposited into the property manager's trust account within three business days, unless otherwise provided in the lease or rental agreement.
(9) When the property management agreement is terminated, but the rental agreement is still in effect, and the licensee is holding funds deposited by a tenant, the licensee shall:
(a) notify the tenant in writing within five business days of termination of the agreement:
(i) that the agreement has terminated;
(ii) that the funds and current tenant files, including lease and condition reports, will be transferred to the property owner or the owner's designee within 30 days of the termination; and
(iii) the name and address of the property owner or the owner's designee to whom the funds are to be transferred;
(b) transfer funds and current tenant files, including the lease and property condition reports, pursuant to the notice to the tenant within 30 days of termination.
(10) Except for personal funds referenced in (6), no payments of personal indebtedness of the property manager shall be made from such trust accounts or trust funds.
(11) When a property manager is managing the property manager's own real estate, all tenant security deposits must be deposited into a trust account. All remaining funds received and disbursed must be handled in the following manner:
(a) if the property manager solely owns 100 percent of the real estate, rents received shall not be required to be placed into a trust account. If rents received are placed into a trust account, any and all disbursements from the trust account must be described in the property management agreement. A disbursement may not be considered personal indebtedness if the disbursement is for the maintenance of the property(ies) itself and is designated in the management agreement; and
(b) if the property manager owns less than 100 percent of the real estate, all rents received must be placed into a trust account. Any and all disbursements from the trust account must be described in the property management agreement. A disbursement may not be considered personal indebtedness if the disbursement is for the maintenance of the property(ies) itself and is designated in the management agreement.
(12) Money held in the trust account, which is due and payable to the property manager, must be withdrawn within ten business days after such money becomes due and payable to the property manager. The money may not be withdrawn until the deposit has been verified and money not withdrawn from the trust account within the ten business days is subject to the personal funds limitations of (6).
(13) Maintenance of each individual property management trust account shall include the property manager keeping at the property management office a completed record of all funds received and disbursed in the following manner:
(a) proof of deposit showing the date of deposit or electronic transfer, amount, source of money, and where deposited;
(b) monthly bank statements are to be retained and kept on file;
(c) disbursement of trust funds shall be made by either check or electronic transfer. If checks are used, trust account checks must be numbered and all voided checks recorded. The checks must denote the property manager's business name, address, and must be designated as "trust account";
(d) a record which shows the chronological sequence in which funds are received and disbursed;
(i) for funds received, the record must include the date the funds are deposited, the name of the party who is giving the money, the name of the principal, and the amount;
(ii) for disbursements, the record must include the date the funds are disbursed, the name of the payee, the name of the principal, and the amount;
(iii) no disbursement from the trust account shall be made until the deposit has been verified;
(iv) a running balance must be shown after each entry.
(14) A chronological ledger must be kept for each tenant showing all rents, deposits, and disbursements. The record entries must clearly identify the parties to a transaction, the dates, and the amounts received. When disbursing funds, the date, payee, and the amount must be shown. A running balance must be shown after each entry.
(15) A chronological record must be kept for each property owner showing all income, expenses, and disbursements. The record entries must clearly identify the parties to a transaction, the date, and the amounts received. When disbursing funds, the date, the payee, and the amount must be shown. A running balance must be shown after each entry.
(16) The trust account must be reconciled monthly, except in the case where there has been no activity during that month.
(17) Trust account records, complete files of properties managed (including, but not limited to, the property management agreement, lease or rental agreement, and all transactions concerning the property in which the property manager was involved), and all other related documents shall be maintained for not less than eight years from the date the property management agreement terminates. A property manager is not relieved of this requirement in the event the property manager sells or ceases to operate a business.
(18) All required trust account records may be maintained electronically, but must be maintained in a manner to permit auditing.
(19) The board is authorized to examine each property manager's trust account and all related property management records. Such examination will be conducted by a board representative and will be at such time as the board representative may request during normal business hours. The property manager is required to fully cooperate with the board representative.
History: 37-1-131, 37-1-319, 37-51-203, MCA; IMP, 37-1-131, 37-1-319, 37-51-324, MCA; NEW, 1993 MAR p. 1909, Eff. 8/13/93; AMD, 1995 MAR p. 2397, Eff. 11/10/95; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 405, Eff. 3/12/99; TRANS, from Commerce, 2005 MAR p. 2455; AMD, 2007 MAR p. 1329, Eff. 9/7/07; AMD, 2010 MAR p. 532, Eff. 2/26/10; AMD, 2012 MAR p. 1776, Eff. 9/7/12; AMD, 2013 MAR p. 1621, Eff. 9/6/13; AMD, 2018 MAR p. 1163, Eff. 6/23/18.