By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM / Published September 2021
“The motivating force of the theory of a Democratic way of life is still a belief that as individuals we live cooperatively, and, to the best of our ability, serve the community in which we live, and that our own success, to be real, must contribute.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Over the course of the next few issues, I will present to you an overview of the CAM profession and the employment process. After 20-plus years of managing community associations, I will share with you my insights into the profession, strategies, and best practices developed through trial and error; an overview of the roles and responsibilities of CAMs and boards of directors; and a creative and effective way to help you go beyond the core to take a deep dive into guiding you through the employment process.
Community association managers (CAM) play an important role in the success of operating the community association. Florida requires community association managers to hold a license. Part VIII of Chapter 468 in the Florida Statutes outlines the specifics regarding the best practices and professionalism that is required. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) specifies the requirements of all applicants that wish to obtain their license to practice community association management. The pre-license application requirements are as follows:
You must be at least 18 years of age.
All community association manager applicants must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 16 hours from an approved pre-licensure education provider within 12 months prior to the date of passing examination (Rule 61E14 -1.001, Florida Administrative Code).
An applicant must have a background check and fingerprinting as part of the licensing process.
Applicants must successfully pass the examination.
Applicant must pay all required fees.
The community association manager examination consists of 100 multiple choice questions based on entry level knowledge of state and federal laws pertaining to the operation and management of community associations, preparation of community association budgets, procedures for noticing and conducting community association meetings, insurance matters relating to community associations, management skills, and association maintenance.
The subject areas, the approximate proportion of examination questions in each subject area, and the sub-areas assigned to each subject area are as follows:
In addition, knowledge of the following Florida laws is required:
Chapter 399, Florida Statutes, Elevators
Chapter 468 Part VIII, Florida Statutes, Community Association Management (CAM) Law
Chapter 482, Florida Statutes, Pest Control
Chapter 493, Part III, Florida Statutes, Private Security Services
Chapter 514, Florida Statutes, Public Swimming and Bathing Facilities
Chapter 607.0125, Florida Statutes, Florida Business Corporations Act
Chapter 715.07, Florida Statutes, Vehicles or vessels parked on private property; towing
Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, Condominium Act
Chapter 719, Florida Statutes, Cooperative Act
Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, HOA Act
Chapter 721, Florida Statutes, Florida Vacation Plan and Timeshare Act
Chapter 760, Part I, Florida Statutes, Florida Civil Rights Act
Chapter 760, Part II, Florida Statutes, Florida Fair Housing Act
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 61-20
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 61E14-1
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 61E14-2
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 61E14-3
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 61E14-4
As you can see, the amount of knowledge required by a CAM is extensive. As a licensed manager, it is essential to have a full understanding and a comprehensive overview regarding the roles and responsibilities you and the board fulfill in managing the community association. Community associations thrive and flourish in an atmosphere in which all are focused on the association’s expectations, needs, and wants. The successful outcome will be a positive one if all are willing to approach their roles professionally. Each party must have the patience and understanding to leave their egos at the door.
For a better understanding of the CAM profession for both the CAM and the board, I have outlined the responsibilities as follows:
I. Management’s Responsibilities
Offer input and implement the decisions made by the board of directors within policies and guidelines set by the board—in conjunction with the community’s documents. Speak up on the “mechanics” of getting the job done so the board understands what is involved, both in terms of cost and time.
Protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents, employees, and guests. Coordinate and document in writing all recommendations pertaining to this task. Suggest drafting a strategic plan for the association and prioritizing and setting their goals. Maintain architectural control to enhance property values and protect the lifestyle of the community.
Oversee and delegate tasks to outsourced vendor services and employees. Develop objectives for all employees pertaining to their responsibilities that contribute to the efficiency of the association’s operations. Build up employee morale.
Designate one board member as the point of contact if the manager needs to seek guidance in order to carry out the day-to-day policies and procedures. This member will serve as the contact person in signing off on all contracts. This is usually the president.
Perform only duties that fall within the scope of work of a licensed manager. Seek the services of professionals such as attorneys and insurance agents. Do not interpret the law, draft contracts, perform accounting or engineering, or carry out any licensed contractor’s work (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, elevator, pool service [must be certified]). Managers should take every precaution not to perform as if they are a professional of any kind unless they are duly licensed in that profession and hav authorization to perform in that capacity.
Disclose the interest management has in any company bidding for a job. Obtain competitive bids.
Maintain a positive and professional attitude and demeanor. Refrain from harassment, name calling, intimidation, derogatory remarks and comments, personal attacks, etc.
Document advice and communications in writing.
Encourage education for the board. Offer your experience and expertise. Serve as an educational resource by attending seminars and workshops, reading publications, and joining educational industry-related organizations. Encourage the association to fund participation in these organizations and seminars. The association will benefit.
Protect the board from engaging in discussions that lead to personality conflicts, prejudices, or discrimination (age, race, gender, religious beliefs, disability status, etc.) by causing stereotypes of individuals or classes of people.
Avoid offering legal advice. Avoid being heavy-handed and political. Avoid sharing confidential matters with members who do not have a fiduciary duty to the association. There is sometimes a temptation to justify a board decision. Avoid engaging in these conversations.
Suggest alternative methods of communication. In addition to posting meeting notices, suggest that the board make phone calls and speak to unit owners, publish a newsletter, create a website, use questionnaires or surveys, establish email lists, and recruit volunteers to elicit responses from owners.
Supervise, oversee, and give direction to all staff members. Act as the liaison between board members, staff, and residents. Conduct regular staff meetings. Complete the following tasks:
Attend regular monthly board meetings and annual meetings
Prepare management reports
Prepare monthly board meeting agendas and board packages
Prepare and draft association meeting minutes
Prepare and mail deed restriction violation notices
Administer requests for property modifications
Prepare and distribute meeting notices to members
Maintain a member roster
Maintain a renter, lessee, and resale list
Work with legal counsel
Review insurance coverage
Promote volunteerism and participation to new owners
Monitor maintenance contracts
Report violations to the board
Process routine and emergency work orders
Coordinate with vendors on routine services such as pest control, trash removal, irrigation, landscaping, pool service, fire systems maintenance, security, and gate access
Maintain contractors’ licensing and insurance
Implement preventive maintenance and a hurricane preparedness program
Perform routine property inspections
Receive quality professional and accurate recommendations on issues such as budgets, reserves, preventive maintenance, customer service, obtaining and reviewing insurance coverage, administration, governance, contracts, the law, and rules enforcement
Maintain communication with the entire board and keep them abreast of community business, ensuring that the residents and board members receive regular information regarding the association’s activities
Allow the entire board to provide input regarding association business, policies, and procedures
Be aware of the special safety needs of owners
Propose all scheduled social functions to the board of directors
Encourage volunteer participation
A wide variety of interests and agendas lead to differing attitudes toward involvement in the community’s business affairs. Board members, owners, and managers must share the responsibility in holding the key to the bright health of the community. Together they can provide direction in guiding the association in a positive manner. Respect, recognition, consideration, and appreciation can go a long way toward a professional, well-run community. With the right approach, all parties will display enthusiasm, respect, and skill in facing the challenges of establishing a successful association.
Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM
Education Program Director
Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in south Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations.
Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by FCAP as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal and serves FCAP as their education program director.
FCAP (Florida Community Association Professionals) is a member-based professional organization dedicated to training, equipping and advocating for Florida community association professionals including managers, service providers and community volunteer leaders.