2015 has brought a lot of change to the Community Management landscape here in Colorado, and with it, a lot of change for us here at Hammersmith Management.
The most important of these changes is that, in order to continue operating after July 1 of this year, every Community Association Manager and Management Company in Colorado must have obtained new licensing from the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies. And as Leaders in Community Management, TM we were at the forefront of the licensing process every step of the way, from the very beginning when the legislation (HB 13-1277) was being drafted until this past summer when it came into effect.
In fact, Hammersmith was the first Management Company in Colorado to obtain Community Association Manager licensing on the company level, while Davina Anderson, Hammersmith’s Managing Director of Community Associations, was the first in the state to be issued an individual license. We take compliance with these new regulations very seriously, and all of our Community Managers have obtained their licenses through DORA as required by the state.
But what does the Community Association Manager licensing process entail, and why is it important for Colorado Communities?
Licensing Requirements: The Basics
In order to become a Licensed Community Manager, there are certain requirements an individual must meet in order to qualify.
First, there is an age and basic education requirement. In order to even apply to for consideration, an individual must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or the equivalent.
For those who meet these base-level requirements, the next step in the licensing process is to enroll in and complete a 24-hour, Colorado Division of Real Estate-approved course on Community Association Management. Upon completion of this course, the licensing candidate must then register for and pass the Certified Managers of Community Associations (CMCA) Exam.
The CMCA Exam is a 120-question multiple choice test with two parts: a general section and a state-specific section. Questions on the general portion range in topic from governance and legal issues, proper meeting conduct, budgeting, contracting, risk management, insurance, ethics, financial controls and much more. The second, state-specific portion of the test deals exclusively with Community Management law as it is enforced in the applicant’s state of residency. Because each state has different requirements and regulations surrounding Common Interest Communities, it’s very important that each Licensed Community Manager know his or her own state’s requirements inside and out.
In addition to passing the CMCA Exam, applicants must also submit a set of fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and pass a criminal history record check. Each Manager must also complete eight hours of additional continuing education each year in order to renew their license.
What does licensing mean for Colorado Communities?
Community Association Manager licensing is important to Colorado Communities for many reasons, but chief among them is that it helps to protect Associations from accidental mismanagement.
At Hammersmith we realize that a person’s home and money are two of their most important assets, so we recognize the importance of putting competent, well-trained individuals into the Community Management positions that deal with these assets directly. While everyone makes mistakes sometimes, having this basic education and exam requirement will hopefully reduce the amount Community Managers will make by encouraging them to stay knowledgeable and up to date as they prepare to re-test.
In addition to setting the bar higher for policy education and knowledge of the law, licensing will also encourage more integrity and professionalism—two of Hammersmith’s core values— among Community Managers. Because having a license to practice brings more legitimacy and respect to a profession as it raises the barrier to entry, this will encourage those who obtain this license to conduct themselves in kind.
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Though it’s brought a lot of change to the industry—or really, because it has—Hammersmith supports CAM Licensing in the state of Colorado one hundred percent. We will continue to stay ahead of any further developments and are committed to making sure that all of our employees remain in compliance with the law. That’s true integrity, and that’s what makes us Leaders in Community Management.TM