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Manager Licensing Becomes Law in Illinois

9/21/2009  -  Alexandria, VA

The stature and professionalism of community association managers received a boost recently when Illinois became the ninth state to adopt a form of manager licensing or certification. Gov. Patrick Quinn signed the Community Association Manager Act in late August, but the law’s requirements won’t take affect until late 2011 at the earliest.

Virginia was the most recent state to adopt manager licensing legislation. That law became effective July 1, 2008. Although there are major differences among them, manager licensing or credentialing regimes have also been enacted in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Nevada. Licensing bills are under consideration in several states, including Colorado, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Illinois law becomes effective July 1, 2010. At that time, the state will appoint a board to develop regulations to implement the requirements of the act. Twelve months after the regulations are adopted, individuals will be unable to provide services as association managers without a state license. The earliest this requirement could become effective is late 2011 or early 2012.

CAI’s Illinois Legislative Action Committee (LAC) spearheaded the initiative to ensure that the legislation included protections for association homeowners and professional standards for managers. The law creates minimum qualifications for licensure, provides financial security to associations, imposes a disciplinary regime for manager misconduct and requires continuing education to renew the license.

“We’re extremely pleased with this legislation and gratified that CAI could play such an instrumental role in its development,” said Mark D. Pearlstein, chair of the Illinois LAC and a charter member of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). “Good, sensible legislation is rarely easy and this was no exception,” he added, “but we ended up with a law that provides important protections for homeowners and advances professionalism in the field of community association management.”

“This shows again what CAI can achieve, locally and nationally, when we work cooperatively to achieve an important objective,” added CAI President Edward D. Thomas, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, the chief executive officer of an association management company in Maryland. “This accomplishment would have been impossible without the hard work and contributions of many Illinois members and the support of our national organization.”

Pearlstein applauded bipartisan legislative support for the measure as well as cooperation from the Illinois Association of Realtors and the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

CAI encourages the national certification of community association managers. In states considering mandatory manager licensing, CAI supports regulatory systems that incorporate adequate protections for homeowners, mandatory education and testing on fundamental management knowledge, standards of conduct and appropriate insurance requirements.

Specifically, CAI believes legislation regulating association managers must:

  • Contain an appropriate definition of a community association manager.
  • Require an objective examination which tests community association management knowledge.
  • Require relevant community association management education as a prerequisite to sitting for an examination.
  • Require relevant continuing education requirements.
  • Require managers to adhere to basic standards of professional conduct and include an enforcement mechanism for the standards.
  • Contain separate program administration if managers are regulated by an existing state agency that regulates other professionals.

CAI strongly opposes the regulation of community association managers as real estate brokers, agents or property managers.

CAI is a national membership organization that represents homeowner and condominium associations, providing education and resources to the volunteer leaders and professionals involved in the governance and management of common-interest communities. CAI’s 29,000-plus members include community association volunteer leaders (homeowners), professional community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to community associations.

Get details on the Illinois manager licensing law.
See summaries of each state manager licensing law.
Read CAI’s public policy on Community Association Manager Credentialing.

Phone: 703-970-9235