Is our association manager qualified?

Q: Our condominium is a large association with a budget of over $800,000. Currently we do not have a community association manager (CAM) but a salaried “office manager” who runs the association. He claims that he can call himself an “office manager” and does not need a CAM license. He has taken the CAM course and the test twice but failed.

Is he correct that as long as he calls himself “office manager” and not “association manager” that he can run the association without a CAM license?

L.K., Miami

A: The statute that covers condominium and homeowner association management is FS 468.432. It reads that no person shall manage or hold themselves out to the public as being able to manage a community association unless they hold a CAM license.

This law also defines a community that would fall under this law and the duties the manager performs. An association means a residential homeowners’ association in which membership is a condition of ownership of a unit in a planned unit development, or of a lot for a home or a mobile home, or of a townhouse, villa, condominium, cooperative, or other residential unit which is part of a residential development which is authorized to impose a fee which may become a lien on the parcel.

Just because he calls himself an office manager does not exempt him from the requirement to be a licensed as a CAM. Association management means any of the following practices requiring substantial specialized knowledge, judgment, and managerial skill when done for remuneration and when the association or associations served contain more than 10 units or have an annual budget or budgets in excess of $100,000:If he controls or disburses funds of a community association, prepares budgets or other financial documents for a community association, or assists in the noticing or conducting of community association meetings, and coordinating maintenance for the residential development and other day-to-day services involved with the operation of a community association.

Why would your board hire a person who has failed to qualify twice? If a complaint is made to the state, your association as well as this person can be fined. Your board needs to rethink hiring this unlicensed person.

Q: We have a homeowner who had not paid an homeowners association fee for eight years. Finally the board hired an attorney who placed a lien on the home and the bank foreclosed. When we asked why this family was still living here; we were told they had made arrangements to pay the bank directly. Is this legal? They still have not made one homeowners association payment.

T.N., Fort Lauderdale

A: I am not the person to answer this question; you must consult an association attorney.

I will say this: Your boards have been terribly negligent and failed to fulfill their responsibilities to manage the association. The good thing is that they have contacted an attorney. The attorney should be able to advise you if you can still collect the delinquent fees.

The agreement between the bank and this delinquent owner has nothing to do with the association’s claim of late fees unless it went into full foreclosure. If the boards failed for eight years to attempt collection, you have an association with serious problems. Every member in your association needs to read the association documents and review the statutes.

My guess is that you have other major discrepancies. Properly operated communities maintain or improve their property values. Improperly operated communities will cost the owners lower property values and the higher expenses and thus higher fees.

There is no state agency to turn to when the members fail to elect good directors. No state agency can help when owners do not verify decisions made by the board. The owners are totally responsible for the actions of the board and any cost will be paid by each owner. The members’ apathy is the main reason for this failure.