CAM License and Disciplinary Act

Illinois REALTOR® Magazine | October 2012

The Community Association Manager (CAM) License and Disciplinary Act

What is it and what isn’t it?

By Elizabeth A. Urbance  |  IAR Legal Hotline Attorney; Associate, Sorling Northrup Attorneys

Q.  What is the Community Association Manager (CAM) License and Disciplinary Act?

A. It is a new statute that requires pre-license education, testing and a license for individuals who will be paid third-party managers for community associations. A community association is an association where unit owners must belong as a condition of ownership in condominiums, cooperatives, townhouses, villas or other residential units that are part of a residential plan AND where the association is authorized to impose assessments on the unit owners which may become a lien on the unit/lot or property. There are also administrative rules under the statute that clarify some of the licensing requirements and that operate to create a required licensure date of October 1, 2012 for CAM licensees to be licensed.

Q.  Who is in charge of CAM license administration?

A. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the agency that will administer the licenses, discipline those who do not follow the new licensing act and discipline those who might be practicing without the required license.

Q.  When must a CAM licensee have his license?

A. He must be licensed beginning October 1, 2012. IDFPR is requiring that the license be in-hand by October 1, 2012. So if a person needs a CAM license, she should begin the licensing and application process well before that deadline allowing 4-6 weeks for IDFPR to issue a license to the successful applicant prior to October 1, 2012.

Q.  Is property management the same as CAM management?

A. No. Property management implies the need for a real estate license since activities related to property management include showing units for rent, collecting rents, holding security deposits and activities along those lines. Those activities require a real estate license if a person is doing those activities for another and for compensation. On the other hand, CAM licensees are being paid to run the office of a community association. The CAM licensee would be engaged in activities such as collecting assessments, dues or fees from association members on behalf of the association, preparing budgets or other financial documents of the association, assisting with association meetings, maintaining association records and administering association contracts.

Q.  May a CAM licensee engage in real estate licensed activities without a real estate license?

A. No. If a CAM licensee also engages in real estate licensed activities as defined under the definition of broker at Section 1-10 of the Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000, she will also need to have a properly sponsored real estate license.

Q.  If I do both types of activities will I need both licenses?

A. Yes, your real estate license will cover your real estate licensed activities and your CAM license would cover those activities that you do on behalf of the community association that pays you for your work on behalf of the association.

Q.  Are there any exemptions to the CAM licensing act?

A. Yes. Here are the exemptions from the CAM license requirement:

  • Anyone doing community association who is not being compensated;
  • Anyone doing community association management for an association comprised of 10 units or less;
  • A licensed attorney acting in his capacity as an attorney at law;
  • A receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, administrator, executor, or guardian acting under a court order, will or trust;
  • A person who is licensed under some other act and who is operating under that license. (A good example of this would be a licensed public accountant who is providing services under that accountant’s license).

Q.  What are the qualifications to get a CAM license?

A. A person must be at least 21 years old, take 20 hours of classroom education in CAM management classes that are approved by IDFPR’s CAM licensing board, have no violations of the CAM Act, be of good moral character, be competent and meet other criteria established by rule. Then, the applicant must take and pass an IDFPR approved CAM licensing exam.

Q.  If I am a real estate licensee, must I take the 20 hours of pre-license education?

A. No. A real estate licensee is exempt from the CAM pre-license education but the real estate licensee/CAM applicant must still take and pass the IDFPR approved CAM licensing exam.

Q.  What are the IDFPR approved CAM licensing exams?

A. There are two options. One is the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM) Certified Manager of Community Associations exam; or the other option is the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Common Interest Developments: Managing Condominium Association Properties (CID201) exam.

Q.  What is a CAM Agency?

A. A CAM Agency is a CAM company that employs a licensee-in-charge (analogous to a managing broker under the IL Real Estate License Act) where the agency employs at least one other CAM licensee. Within a CAM Agency it is important to note that only those who actually engage in licensed CAM activities will need a license. This is also similar to a licensed real estate brokerage company where unlicensed assistants and bookkeepers (for example) don’t need licenses as long as they do not engage in licensed activities. CAM licensees-in-charge must only work for one firm, corporation, LLC or other entity that provides CAM licensed activities.

Q.  When are the renewal periods for CAM licenses?

A. CAM licensees will renew beginning August 31, 2013 and August 31 of odd-numbered years thereafter.

Q.  What are the fees for a CAM license?

A. IDFPR has a $300 application fee and it will cost the applicant money to take the approved CAM exam. The exam fees need to be researched through the exam providers listed above. Renewal fees for the CAM license are $150 per year so $150 for the first renewal in August, 2013 and $300 for the two-year renewal periods thereafter.

Q.  Are there disciplinary provisions in the CAM Act?

A. Yes. There is an extensive list containing grounds for discipline under the CAM Act. The list can be found in the CAM Act at Section 85 and is discussed in some detail in IAR’s Legal Webinar on this subject dated June 28, 2012, www.illinoisrealtor.org/legal/webinars.

Q.  What are fines for unlicensed practice?

A. Fines for the unlicensed practice of community association management can be up to $10,000 per offense.  IDFPR has authority to investigate the unlicensed practice of community association management.

NOTE: The previous Q&A section provides a brief overview of the CAM licensing requirements.  For more information go to IAR’s Legal Webinar dated June 28, 2012, to IAR General Counsel Steve Bochenek’s article in the June, 2012 IAR D.R. Legal News and/or go to www.idfpr.com.  Also, if you are thinking of adding CAM activities to your business, consult with your attorney before doing so.  

 

Breakout Text: 

NOTE: The previous Q&A section provides a brief overview of the CAM licensing requirements.  For more information go to IAR’s Legal Webinar dated June 28, 2012, to IAR General Counsel Steve Bochenek’s article in the June, 2012 IAR D.R. Legal News and/or go to www.idfpr.com. Also, if you are thinking of adding CAM activities to your business, consult with your attorney before doing so.  

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