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Manager Licensing in Washington State

Sep 27, 2010 | Archive, Blog, Text Only Article | 0 comments

In 2008 legislation was enacted updating the Washington State real estate licensure law to, amongst other things, increase licensing and educational requirements for real estate licensees. The initial legislation, proposed by the Washington State Realtors Association, would have included the duties of Community Association Managers (CAMS) under the definition of real estate broker, thus requiring CAMs to obtain a real estate broker’s license. WSCAI objected to this proposed requirement and spent much time explaining to legislators the differences between real estate brokers and CAMs. In our discussions,  we noted that CAI is not necessarily opposed to the licensing or credentialing of the CAM profession as long as it pertains to the CAM profession.

WSCAI was successful in keeping CAM duties out of the revised definition of real estate brokers, but given the increasing interest in community associations by legislators, it’s probably not the last time some sort of regulation of the CAM profession is proposed.  Given this possibility and desire to create a program that works for homeowners and managers, the WSCAI Legislative Action Committee has taken the proactive step of creating a subcommittee to further explore the regulation of CAMs. The group is dedicated to creating a regulatory program for community association management to protect the interests of the public served by CAMs and raise the level of competency required to enter the business of community association management.

The purpose of the subcommittee is to execute a program that fulfills the need of a regulatory program for professional community association managers in Washington State by utilizing the credentialing programs that have been created by community association managers for association managers, best practices and model legislation from successful endeavors in other states.  The subcommittee will initiate and facilitate conversations with members, stakeholder organizations and individuals that share an interest in the community association management profession.

Community association managers have very diverse, complex job functions. They are responsible for large sums of money belonging to the association (and, therefore, homeowners). They can be held accountable for such issues as property values and quality of life. Mistakes made by community association managers can have very serious consequences for the association and the homeowners.

Examples and stories of incompetency in community association management have risen to a new level throughout the past few years.  It has become evident that these stories are not exaggerations rather they are representative of a larger problem of uneducated and incompetent community association management.  Examples of mismanagement include legal, accounting, underinsured and financial disasters.

While there are community association management professionals who have regulated themselves through national community association specific education programs and nationally renowned credentialing programs, there are many examples of persons who lack the requisite skills set or education to meet the challenges of professionally managing a community.

In line with CAI’s public policy, any proposed regulatory program will:

  • Utilize education and credentialing developed by community association management professionals for community association management professionals
  • Require an objective examination
  • Contain an appropriate definition of community manager
  • Contain continuing education requirements
  • Apply standards of professional and ethical conduct
  • Be governed by a board of community managers 
  • Be cost effective

Community association management is a specialized field, requiring extensive knowledge and skills to practice effectively. Successful community association managers are dedicated professionals who have worked diligently to attain a high level of knowledge in many areas. Community association managers deserve recognition and respect from the industry, associations, and the general public for the sophisticated, complex jobs they perform for their associations.

The subcommittee and the LAC understand the complexity of proposing regulation of the industry from both the homeowner and manager perspective and expect any such proposals to be well thought out and developed in a timely manner. The group expects to work on this issue for the next year and possibly propose legislation in 2012. We will be updating our membership through various meetings and Journal articles. Please feel free to contact the Chapter office if you have any questions.

 

Facts about Community Associations and Community Association Management (estimates)

12,000 is the number of association-governed communities in Washington

1,300,000 is the number of Washingtonians living in a community association

40,000 is the number of homeowner volunteers on community association boards in Washington

$85 billion is the estimated value of homes in all community associations in Washington

$850 million is the estimated annual operating revenue for Washington community associations

$750 million is the estimated value of investment accounts held for long-term maintenance and replacement for community associations in Washington

*Estimates are based U.S. census statistics, Washington Secretary of State Office and national statistics of the Community Associations Institute 

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