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A North Carolina REALTOR® was recently awarded the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation.


Cathy Robertson of Lexington has completed the curriculum required to join other top producers in the residential real estate industry who hold the most recognized REALTOR® designation across the nation.


Robertson earned the “Graduate REALTOR® Institute” (GRI) designation by attending 60 hours of specific and intense instruction that covers a variety of subjects including: buyer client services, professional standards, sales and marketing, finance, and risk reduction.


The REALTOR® Institute is taught by well respected professionals from around the country, and is focused on local, state and national real estate practices that affect the industry and consumers.


The GRI designation sets those who have attained it apart from other practitioners,

because it shows that they have dedicated extra time to obtain a professional educational foundation on which to base the services that they provide.


Robertson is Vice President and Broker-in-Charge at T.E. Johnson & Sons Professional Property Management. Located in Winston-Salem, TE Johnson has been a trusted expert in property management in the Triad since 1928.

4 Issues to Watch for Property Managers

4 Issues to Watch for Property Managers

Laws concerning service animals, rent control, marijuana, and criminal background checks are constantly evolving. Here’s what you need to know right now.
woman in wheelchair with service dog

Correction: In an earlier version, quotes by Tyler Craddock of the National Association of Residential Property Managers were mistakenly attributed to an NAR staffer. The story has been corrected.

It’s a changing landscape for landlords and tenants. Property management and policy experts speaking at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., offered attendees of the Property Management Forum guidance on handling four hot-button issues.

Can You Negotiate Service Animal Requests?

The need to accommodate service animals, once a relatively rare issue for property managers, has become increasingly common. Under guidelines from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Americans With Disabilities Act, property managers must make a reasonable accommodation for tenants who request a service or comfort animal, regardless of their building’s pet policy.

But what if a tenant’s request is problematic for the unit? “When someone comes to you with a [doctor’s] note that says, ‘I’m entitled to 40 cats,’ you can negotiate [that],” said Tyler Craddock, government affairs director of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. “You can have that conversation, saying, ‘This is a one-bedroom efficiency unit, and I don’t think we can accommodate 40 cats there. Is there another way we can accommodate this?’”

Paul Dizmang, chair of the Property Management Forum, advised attendees to call their local or state HUD office if they have questions.

Fraudulent service animal requests are becoming an increasing concern, Dizmang said.  “In five minutes, you can go online and get a doctor’s note to certify a service animal.”

Disability rights groups around the country are starting to look at cases where tenants obtain online certification for a service animal, which is trained to perform a specific task, when the need is not legitimate, said Megan Booth, senior policy representative at the National Association of REALTORS®. She added that NAR is working with the National Fair Housing Alliance to get more specific HUD and ADA guidance on this issue.

Combating Rent Control

“Rents are high in many areas, and citizens are going to their state legislatures and asking for answers,” said Beth Wanless, senior manager of government affairs with the Institute of Real Estate Management. “Many lawmakers say rent control is a good solution. It’s actually a terrible idea.”

Wanless explained that rent control does not incentivize developers to build new projects because rent caps lower their profits. The effect, she said, is fewer and lower-quality affordable housing units. “Legislators think rent control will allow for more affordable housing for vulnerable citizens, but it actually creates a black market,” she said. Property managers also have less incentive to maintain rent-controlled properties because they won’t make enough money to pay for routine building maintenance and repairs, she added.

NAR and IREM oppose rent-control policies.

Marijuana Policies for Residential, Commercial Properties

The majority of the debate around marijuana laws and real estate has focused on residential property. Property managers who oversee apartment complexes should be advised that in the 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana use—eight of which have also approved recreational use—they cannot deny a tenant with a medical need the right to use pot on their properties, Booth said. However, they can regulate the smoking of marijuana. Lease agreements should explicitly state the methods of marijuana use—whether it’s through smoking, oils, edibles, or other means—that are acceptable on the premises.

But 17 states also allow the growing of marijuana on private property, which could raise risks for not only residential property managers but also those who manage industrial and retail properties. “If you cover utilities as part of your lease agreement, be aware that a single marijuana plant can take a gallon of water a day and 17 hours of light,” Booth said. “That can get expensive.”

When it comes to grow houses, which are typically housed in industrial warehouses, and retail pot dispensaries in shopping centers, property managers should be cognizant that even though their state may allow such operations, federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. That means the properties are vulnerable to federal raids and seizures, Booth said. She also cautioned that pot dispensary owners, who legally must deal only in cash, will have to pay rent in cash—and that could raise alarms about money laundering from federal officials.

How Far Can You Go With Criminal Background Checks?

Craddock warned attendees that if their leasing policies disallow tenants who have committed a felony, it could have a disparate impact on a certain group of people—which is a violation of fair housing law. Unfortunately, he noted, HUD guidelines on this issue are vague, and the agency will likely tell property managers to follow guidance set forth by courts in their area. “Our members just want to know what they need to do to follow the law,” Craddock added.

HUD does say that property managers cannot consider arrest records when considering tenant applications, and only convictions related to threats to property or other tenants are relevant when choosing who to rent to, Booth said. “You have to look at the nature of the crime, the severity, the age of the [prospective tenant] at the time of the crime, and how much time has passed since conviction,” she said. She suggested that property managers consider only the last seven years of a prospective tenant’s criminal history.

She also advised looking at work history and doing a credit check on prospective tenants before conducting a criminal background check. “If there’s nothing there, it [may indicate] they’ve spent time in prison recently,” Booth said. When denying tenants based on their criminal background, she added, property managers should be honest about that and give them an opportunity to explain their situation.

Cathy Robertson of T.E. Johnson & Sons, Inc. Elected to the North Carolina Association of Realtors Property Management Division Board of Governors

At the recent meeting of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®  (NCAR) Property Management Division (PMD), Cathy Robertson, ARM®, Vice President of T.E. Johnson & Sons, Inc. was elected for a 3 year term on the Board of Governors. The PMD serves as the governing body for the NCAR in all matters relating to property management.


“I am humbled by the trust our members have placed in me by electing me to the PMD Board of Governors. The core values of T.E. Johnson & Sons, Ethics, Industry Involvement, Community Involvement, Education and Technology, are what I will bring to the table during my time on the Board of Governors”, stated Cathy.


Ms. Robertson serves the industry locally on the Winston Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) and Grievance Committee. She is also an active member of the Institute of Real Estate management (IREM) serving locally on the Executive Committee and nationally on Governing Council. In addition to all her professional associations Cathy proudly serves on the board of directors for the Davidson Prison Ministry.


About T.E. Johnson & Sons Inc.: Since 1928, family-owned T.E. Johnson & Sons has provided professional residential property management in Winston-Salem and surrounding locations. With our ties to the area dating back to the 1700s, we have been able to build on a strong sense of tradition and community in shaping our property management philosophy. T.E. Johnson & Sons, Inc. manages a diverse portfolio of single family and multifamily rental units. Our knowledge and experience in residential property allows us to stay on the leading edge of changes in law and regulations that may affect you as an investor/owner. Our reputation is unrivaled and we have made it our top priority to provide clients and customers alike with the highest level of professionalism, knowledge, and support.

About the NC Association of REALTORS®NC REALTORS® is a non-profit trade association founded in 1921 and incorporated on Sept. 14, 1935. From an initial membership of 135, NC REALTORS® today has a membership of 39,000 real estate professionals representing 48 local associations statewide. NC REALTORS® is one of the largest and most influential state associations in North Carolina.

For our purposes, the  state is divided into 10 regions to assist in the operation of the association. Each region has an elected vice president that is responsible for coordinating activities in his or her area on behalf of the association.

NC REALTORS® is dedicated to providing the opportunities and resources that aid our members. Our mission statement is succinct: “To promote the success of our members and enhance the Quality of Life in North Carolina.” We further pledge to: preserve and promote the right to own, transfer and use real property; maintain a leadership role in the legislative, political and regulatory process; promote and maintain the highest ethical standards; develop and provide the best education, products and services; promote housing affordability.

NC REALTORS® is headquartered in Greensboro near Grandover Resort.

R-22 Phase Out

Dear Owners,

As the weather warms and tenants start to turn on their air conditioning units for the season we would like to remind you of the changes affecting the refrigerant used in most air conditioners. The U.S. plans to reduce over time the use of ozone depleting hydrochlorocarbons. (HCFC’s) The most common HCFC in use today is HCFC-22 or R-22, a refrigerant still used in existing air conditioners and refrigeration equipment. As seen in the chart below the U.S. strategy is to phase out the use of R-22 by 2020. Here is a link to the EPA which will explain in detail the plan

What this means to you:

  • The reduction has caused the current price of R-22 to rise and it will continue to rise.
  • Repairs to existing units will continue to become more and more expensive.
  • Begin to set aside reserves now for replacing your system.

How we can help:

  • Increase your reserve account.
  • Provide proposals from trusted contractors.
  • Make other recommendations.









Cathy Robertson- Vice President

Broker, ARM®, REALTOR®

T.E. Johnson & Sons

Exciting News!


We are proud to announce a new change to our leadership.  Phillip Johnson and Cathy Robertson have both seen promotions within the corporation.

Phillip Johnson has been elected to President of the company.  Phillip, currently serves as the Vice President of the Property Management Division of the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors®.  He also sits on the Institute of Real Estate Management, Piedmont Chapter, Executive Council.  He is an active supporter of The Boy Scouts and severs as on the board of Troop 958.  He attended Marshall University and High Point University. Phillip continues a real estate legacy started by his great grandfather.

Cathy Robertson has been elected to Vice President of the firm.  Robertson, steps up behind retiring Tom Johnson, who served the firm faithfully for more than 30 years.

“Cathy has been a key part of our company’s growth since joining the firm. Her 23 years of experience, and progressive residential expertise will continue to strengthen T.E. Johnson’s position as a leading property management firm in Winston-Salem,” said Phillip W. Johnson, Jr., President of T.E. Johnson.

As a member of the Winston Salem Regional Association of Realtors®, Robertson serves on the Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) and Grievance Committees and is a member of the NC Property Management division.

 “I am honored that the Johnson family has selected me for this position, said Robertson.”  I look forward to continuing the legacy of this prestigious company.”

T.E. Johnson and Sons is a full service property management company with a diverse portfolio representing owners of homes, estates, apartments and condominium and complexes in the Winston-Salem and surrounding area.   The company provides knowledgeable real estate expertise and understanding of the community that allows owners the freedom from day to day responsibilities.  The goal is to provide a return on investment for owners while giving their residents an elevated quality of life.

Currently the company is located at 920 West Fifth Street.  T.E. Johnson and Sons also manages the Village Lofts, a downtown complex in the Arts District.  Phillip Johnson stated, “I am looking forward to building on our heritage and reputation in the real estate management field.  Our strategic plan allows us to grow with the community and serve our clients successfully.  This is a wonderful opportunity to serve.”

Cathy Robertson joins IREM Governing Council

Catherine Robertson, ARM® Appointed to the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Governing Council

T.E. Johnson & Sons Announces Robertson’s Appointment to IREM Governing Council.

Cathy Robertson of T.E. Johnson & Sons

Cathy Robertson ARM® Property Manager

Catherine Robertson, ARM® Appointed to the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Governing Council Winston Salem, NC, February 01, 2016 –(– Congratulations to Catherine Robertson of Chapter #56. Ms. Robertson was appointed to the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Governing Council during the IREM Fall Leadership Conference held in Salt Lake City.

A licensed Real Estate Broker in North Carolina, offers more than two decades of proven progressive multi and single family property management experience. She earned her Accredited Residential Manager® (ARM®) designation in 2012.

Cathy has been included among 72 “Women Changing the World of Real Estate Management” by the International Journal of Property Management. A CPM® candidate, she has been actively involved with the local Chapter 56 since 2012. In addition to Chapter Treasurer she has served as Counselor, Chairman of the Industry Partner program, and the Income & Expense Contact. Nationally, Cathy serves on the IREM Governing Council as a member of the Membership & Credentialing Committee and Region 13 ARM® Representative for 2016-2017 terms.

Robertson is a member of the Winston Salem Regional Association of Realtors® and the NCAR Property Management Division. She has been employed with T.E. Johnson & Sons, LLC in Winston-Salem, NC since 2015.