About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a 20-year-old independent board that sets the standards for community association managers worldwide. CAMICB is the first and only organization created solely to certify community association managers and enhance the professional practice of community association management.

Decoding the ABC’s of Credentials, Certificates & Designations

What do those letters behind your name mean?

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director, CAMICB

Even for those deeply entrenched in the credentialing world, there’s a certain degree of confusion around some of the terminology used to describe specific paths professionals take to further their careers and skill sets. The field of community association management is no different so it’s important to educate managers, homeowners, and other community association professionals about the different options the profession has to offer and the value they hold.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), “credentialing” is an umbrella term used to refer to concepts such as professional certification, certificate programs, accreditation, licensure, and regulation.

ICE defines certification, licensure, assessment-based certificate, and accreditation in the following ways:

  • certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence, such as a community manager who has achieved the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®).  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession, such as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student.
  • Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is such a program. ICE currently offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The CMCA credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) confirming it complies with NCCA’s stringent standards for a professional certification program. Accreditation validates the integrity of the CMCA program and is a mark of quality.

Specialty Designations

Community association professionals may also choose to bolster their careers and expand their level of expertise in certain areas. This is where specialty designations come into play. A “designation” is recognition of professional knowledge and expertise in a given subject matter or job skill.  To earn designations, membership is required in a professional organization and usually requires work experience.  Certain specialty designations are offered through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) including, the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and Reserve Specialist (RS). This allows a community association professional to drill down into a specialized aspect of the business.  In some cases, for example the PCAM and AMS designations, passing the CMCA examination is a prerequisite to applying for these designations.

I’ve experienced a wide disparity in the background and quality of the managers with whom I’ve worked,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group.  “A manager who holds the CMCA assures me they have an important foundation in place – the ongoing education and knowledge necessary to successfully manage millions of dollars worth of other people’s property and a serious commitment to high ethical standards.”

Stephen Castle, CMCA, AMS, PCAM agrees all committed community association managers should hold the CMCA certification. “The CMCA certification demonstrates to employees and new managers a commitment to professionalism,” said Castle. “Further, CMCAs show their support for established national and international standards of knowledge and professional conduct for community association managers.”

The Certified Manager of Community Associations – The only accredited certification program in the world for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.

The CMCA Goes Global

As CAMICB grew to be the premiere certification body in the United States for community association managers, it also gained international recognition for its established body of knowledge and strict ethical standards. Over the past two decades, the CMCA certification program crossed borders and oceans in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. This global expansion secured a high level of professionalism for association management and common interest communities worldwide. In 2017, CAMICB launched the international CMCA examination.

About ICE

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

6 reasons recruiters say they’ll toss your resume in the trash

These things will make your resume stand out — but in a bad way.

ILLUSTRATION: ASHLEY SIEBELS

Most professionals nowadays know that a clear (and proofread) resume can help them move along during the job application process. But what if you think you submitted the most perfectly edited resume with loads of experience and you still don’t make the cut?

It turns out that there are plenty of smaller mistakes that make recruiters reconsider adding you to the “yes” pile. Six of them weighed in on the problems they see with resumes all the time that keep applicants from getting ahead.

1. It’s way too long

Lyssa Barber, the former head of recruitment at UBS Asset & Wealth Management, says that one of the largest issues she sees with job applicants is that they’ll submit a resume that “indulges the candidate, but [doesn’t] entice the hiring manager.”

“Even if you’re the CEO, you don’t need a five-page CV,” she notes. “I’ve received eight to 10-page efforts, and they just go straight into the reject pile. [Doing so] suggests an inability to condense information for a time-poor audience.”

Barber also says to steer clear of half-page personal statements; go for a clear, three-line objective instead.

2. It’s over-styled

Trevor Collins, a recruiter at KVH Industries, says that while he focuses on skills and experience, style issues can make it more challenging to read a resume quickly.

He says some of the biggest mistakes he sees are people who:

  • Use multiple fonts

  • Include broken hyperlinks

  • Use buzzwords or overly formal speech

  • Are too long-winded

Just because your resume doesn’t have any typos doesn’t mean that other style problems aren’t turning off a hiring manager. Skip the out-there fonts, double-check your hyperlinks and keep the language simple.

3. It doesn’t include keywords

Candidates need to make it easy for recruiters to find what they’re looking for, especially since they’re scanning hundreds of resumes every day.

“When I look at a CV I immediately look for words that relate to the role I am working on,” says Sarah Rawcliffe, a talent manager at Get My First Job. “For example, for a childcare role I would want to see a placement [at a] nursery, work experience in primary school or even babysitting for a family friend, anything that shows some kind of interest in the industry they have applied for.”

Don’t make it hard for recruiters to connect the dots as to why you’re a good fit for the role. They may give up and look elsewhere.

4. It has the wrong tone

“Some candidates are giving great thought to the editing of their resume – checking for typos, verb tenses, and verbiage – but not considering tone,” explains Laura Mazzullo, founder of East Side Staffing. “I would recommend reading the resume aloud keeping personal brand at the forefront of your consideration. ‘Does this resume reflect my values and perspective? Is this how I want to come across to potential employers?’”

5. It’s not ordered by level of relevance or impact

In keeping with the theme of making it easy for hiring managers and recruiters, make sure you put the most important or relevant information at the top of your resume and throughout each position.

“Your resume should highlight your most prized accomplishments in the first bullets and day-to-day towards the bottom,” says recruiter Taylor Carrington. “Structure the resume [from] greatest to least impactful for each position you held.”

6. It doesn’t tell a story

If a recruiter looks at your resume and can’t tell what your career “story” is and generally where you’re hoping to go, that could lead to a “no.”

“No matter the level of the candidate, [from] someone just out of college or a very senior executive, it’s okay if someone works in various industries and jumps around a bit and gains different experiences,” says Eva Freidan, a product leadership recruiter at Facebook. “But at the end of the day, what is the common thread throughout this person’s career?”

Freidan recommends taking some time to write a paragraph or two explaining your overall career arc. If it’s not clear to you, it certainly won’t be clear to a recruiter who’s scanning your resume quickly.

When it comes to resume writing, the most important thing is to think about what’ll make the hiring manager want to move your resume into the “yes” pile. They’re rooting for you (their jobs depend on it), so the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to move you to the next round.

LILY HERMAN|is a New York-based writer, editor, and social media manager whose recent bylines include Fast Company, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, ELLE, Teen Vogue, and TIME

11 signs you’re in a rut (and how to get unstuck)

Everyone daydreams now and then. But if you’re always wishing you were somewhere else, you may be in a rut. People don’t know how to climb out of it.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Not everyone who’s in a rut realizes they’re in one. They just sense something isn’t right. And many people who know they’re in a rut don’t know how to climb out of it. Regardless of which situation someone finds themselves in, it’s important they make changes to ensure their long-term health and happiness at home, at work, and in life overall. We’ll look at signs you could be in a rut and offer suggestions for getting out and getting back in the groove.

1. You dream about getting away—and not just on vacation

Everyone daydreams now and then. But if you’re always wishing you were somewhere else, you may be in a rut. The surprise and novelty of doing something spontaneous fills our brains with the motivation neurotransmitter, dopamine, which makes us feel excited, curious and adventurous. Spontaneity also gives us a feeling of autonomy, and that sense of control can boost motivation, too.

2. You don’t look forward to much, other than sleeping or getting through whatever you’re doing

If you regularly feel like you don’t have anything to look forward to, start to look for beauty in what lies around you. Instead of waiting for something monumental to happen, keep an eye out for the little things that life has to offer. These can make a big difference.

3. No matter how hard you try, it feels like you’re going nowhere

It’s not uncommon to feel stuck in the hamster wheel, especially at work. Our brains are wired to resist change, preferring to fall back on old habits. But visualizing our goals and choosing new strategies to achieve them creates new neural pathways in our brains. The more we use them, the stronger the pathways become and the more we can get beyond what’s familiar, safe and often stifling.

4. You look at other people’s lives with envy

In the age of social media and curated photo collections, it’s easy to compare your life to others’. But it’s important to shift your focus back to you. That could mean repeating a positive, empowering phrase about yourself, eating healthier meals or even pampering yourself just because.

5. Even though you check things off your to-do list, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting much done

If you feel little sense of accomplishment no matter how much you do, the issue may be that you’re always aiming for perfection. To combat this, silence your internal critic and be happy just getting things done. You’ll feel productive and better about not being so hard on yourself. And remember, there’s always another day or project on which to improve.

6. You want to get your creative juices flowing, but feel like you’re running on empty

You’re feeling spent and uninspired, and you can’t shake the feeling. Or can you? By setting aside an hour or two a week to devote to a passion project, you’ll be able to channel your energy into something you want to do versus something you need to do. It’s a true expression of yourself and can reignite your zest for life by giving you a refreshed or new perspective.

7. You feel bored most of the time

It’s time to take a withdrawal from your memory bank. Think of something you did in the past that got you excited, and picture yourself doing it. It can even be something from your youth. Once you pinpoint that activity, go do it. This method for getting out of your rut is called the flip technique, and it helps turn your discontentment into something that makes you feel happy again.

8. You regularly choose to stay home instead of going out with friends

It’s one thing to be a homebody, but it’s quite another to never go out. Try examining your work-life balance, which can help you determine whether at least one of these aspects of your life is vibrant. Ask yourself whether you’re engaging in the same activities over and over. See what’s on your schedule, and make sure you have new opportunities to look forward to.

9. You make excuses for not doing things, such as “I don’t have time”

When you find yourself believing you can’t do something, dig deeper to find out what’s really stopping you. Is it fear? A past experience? Lack of confidence? By looking within, you’ll become conscious of that limiting belief – the first step toward getting past it. Try journaling about daily thoughts and experiences to figure out what’s really going on.

10. You often think of yourself as a martyr, putting others’ needs first to the detriment of your own

Helping others is admirable, but constantly putting their needs ahead of your own isn’t. It’s an unhealthy pattern you need to break. Make a list of the things that make you feel like a martyr or, worse, a victim. Recognize your role in each situation, then brainstorm ways to change them. Check them off the list as you do. This way, you’re taking control of the situation rather than letting it control you.

11. You don’t see the purpose of anything you do

If “What’s the point?” dominates your inner dialogue, try getting outside more often. Research shows that exposure to our natural settings changes the brain to reduce anxiety and thwart depression. Brain activity in the areas associated with critical thinking diminishes, and nature helps turn off our physiological stress response to put us in a more restful state.

By JENNIFER GUERINGERThis article first appeared on Netcredit.

 

8 small things people use to judge your personality

The human brain is hardwired to judge. This survival mechanism makes it very hard to meet someone without evaluating and interpreting their behavior.

While we tend to think that our judgments are based on the content of conversations and other obvious behaviors, the research says otherwise. In fact, the majority of our judgments are focused on smaller, subtler things, such as handshakes and body language. We often form complete opinions about people based solely on these behaviors.

We are so good at judging other people’s personalities based on small things that, in a University of Kansas study, subjects accurately predicted people’s personality traits, such as extroversion/introversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness, simply by looking at pictures of the shoes they wore.

Our unconscious behaviors have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. These behaviors have likely become an integral part of who you are, and if you don’t spend much time thinking about them, now is a good time to start, because they could be sabotaging your career.

How you treat waiters and receptionists

How you treat support staff is so indicative of your makeup that it has become a common interview tactic. By gauging how you interact with support staff on your way in and out of the building, interviewers get a sense for how you treat people in general. Most people act the part when they’re speaking to the hiring manager or other “important” people, but some will pull a Jekyll and Hyde act the moment they walk out the door, treating others with disdain or indifference. Business lunches are another place this comes to light. No matter how nice you are to the people you have lunch with, it’s all for naught if those people witness you behaving badly toward others.

How often you check your phone

There’s nothing more frustrating than someone pulling out their phone mid-conversation. Doing so conveys a lack of respect, attention, listening skills, and willpower. Unless it’s an emergency, it’s wise to keep your phone holstered. A study from Elon University confirms that pulling out your phone during a conversation lowers both the quality and quantity of face-to-face interactions.

Repetitive, nervous habits

Touching your nails or face or picking at your skin typically indicates that you’re nervous, overwhelmed, and not in control. Research from the University of Michigan suggests that these nervous habits are indicative of a perfectionistic personality, and that perfectionists are more likely to engage in these habits when they’re frustrated or bored.

How long you take to ask questions

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they talked about themselves the entire time? The amount of time someone allows to pass before they take an interest in you is a strong personality indicator. People who only talk about themselves tend to be loud, self-absorbed “takers.” People who only ask questions and share little about themselves are usually quiet, humble “givers.” Those who strike a nice balance of give-and-take are reciprocators and good conversationalists.

Your handshake

It’s common for people to associate a weak handshake with a lack of confidence and an overall lackadaisical attitude. A study at the University of Alabama showed that, although it isn’t safe to draw assumptions about someone’s competence based on their handshake, you can accurately identify personality traits. Specifically, the study found that a firm handshake equates with being less shy, less neurotic, and more extroverted.

Tardiness

Showing up late leads people to think that you lack respect and tend to procrastinate, as well as being lazy or disinterested. Contrary to these perceptions, a San Diego State University study by Jeff Conte revealed that tardiness is typically seen in people who multitask, or are high in relaxed, Type B personality traits. Conte’s study found that Type B individuals are often late because they experience time more slowly than the rest of us. Bottom line here is not to read too much into people showing up late. It’s better to ask what’s behind it than to make assumptions.

Handwriting

There are all manner of false stereotypes attempting to relate your handwriting to your personality. For example, people believe that how hard you press down on the paper relates to how uptight you are, the slant of your writing indicates introversion or extroversion, and the neatness/sloppiness of your writing reveals organizational tendencies. The research is inconclusive at best when it comes to handwriting and personality. If you have an important letter to write, I’d suggest sticking to the keyboard to keep things neutral.

Eye contact

The key to eye contact is balance. While it’s important to maintain eye contact, doing so 100% of the time is perceived as aggressive and creepy. At the same time, if you only maintain eye contact for a small portion of the conversation, you’ll come across as disinterested, shy, or embarrassed. Studies show that maintaining eye contact for roughly 60% of a conversation strikes the right balance and makes you come across as interested, friendly, and trustworthy.

Bringing it all together

Sometimes the little things in life make a big difference. It’s good to be ready for them, so that you can make a strong impression.

From theladders.com, May 2018. Travis Bradberry is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the co-founder of TalentSmart.  This column first appeared on LinkedIn.

HOAs and Clotheslines

Adapted from an article by Jon Howland published 

clothesline-in-burano

Summertime means the weather warms up and homeowners will put their laundry out on a clothesline to dry.  Homeowners living in HOAs, condos or other common interest communities may be violating community rules by hanging their wardrobe up outside.

Nationwide, more than a quarter million homeowner associations govern upwards of 60 million people. Alexander Lee, a champion of the “right-to-dry” movement, estimates that “more than half of them (HOAs) restrict or ban the clothesline.”

A “right-to-dry” movement has sprung up and won laws in six states––Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Vermont—to render bans on clotheslines void and unenforceable. In another 13 states, solar access laws already on the books appear to protect solar drying.

Clotheslines appear to fit under the umbrella of states’ solar rights because systems for hang-drying rely on the sun’s radiation to evaporate water in wet laundry. Clotheslines rely on solar energy, so their use is protected where laws provide blanket allowances for use of solar.

Solar access laws in Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin all delineate a homeowner’s right to install a “solar energy system,” “solar energy device,” “solar collector,” “system for obtaining solar energy” or “solar energy collection device.” The legal terminology varies, but the letter and spirit of these laws has one overarching message: homeowners may utilize the power of the sun

Yet in all of these 19 states, illegal bans persist in community rulebooks, such as HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), and a number that likely runs into the millions of residents do not know they already have a right to dry. Solar access laws, many of them from the 1970s, and obscure amendments to state property law may not be well known.

Do you know your state law? Does your community have a policy on clotheslines?

What Should I Study for the CMCA Exam?

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge

cmca-study-graphic-2

8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing.

 

Can Short-Term Rentals Be Stopped?

One of the most frequently asked questions from our association clients over the last year or two is “What can we do about all of the short-term rentals in our community?” In a typical lawyerly fashion, we often respond with “it depends”. Unfortunately, the answer to this common question really does depend almost entirely on the language found, or not found, in your association’s CC&Rs. To further complicate the issue, the law was changed a few years ago making it more difficult for associations to regulate rentals and it does not appear that the state legislators will be reversing this trend any time soon. So, if your association is experiencing this problem, what can you do?

Start by reviewing your CC&Rs. According to current Arizona law, owners in an association are allowed to use their property as a rental property unless prohibited by the CC&Rs and owners are required to use their property in accordance with any rental time period restrictions found in the CC&Rs.[1] Therefore, in order to limit or restrict short-term rentals, you will need to search the CC&Rs for any applicable language. Common language, which is typically found in the “Use Restriction” section of the CC&Rs, will either prohibit rentals all together or will require a lease agreement be in writing for a certain minimum term. The association will be limited by whatever language currently exists in the CC&Rs. Please also understand that any language restricting rentals found in a governing document other than the CC&Rs (i.e. Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, etc.) is not enforceable.

Assuming you find language in the CC&Rs you can rely on, a violation of said language should be treated as any other violation of a restriction or rule in your community. Depending on the documents of your association, this may include sending notices of violation, imposing fines, suspending certain rights of the owner, or filing a lawsuit if the violation persists. If you are experiencing short-term rental violations in your community, you will need to document the violations as best as you can. You should look for and save the rental ad from websites such as Airbnb or VRBO. You can document the frequent turnover of tenants on the property. You should also save any and all communications with the owner regarding the violation. Hopefully, these violations can be resolved without having to resort to litigation as these types of lawsuits can be difficult to win and are expensive for the Association.

What if your association’s CC&Rs does not adequately address the issue of short-term rentals? The association does have other options it may consider. First, Arizona law allows the association to demand certain information from the owners renting their property. The owner can be asked to disclose the name and contact information of the adults occupying the property, the time period of the lease, including the start end dates, and a description and license plate numbers of the tenants’ vehicles. In age-restricted communities, the age of the tenant can also be verified. Realistically, with short-term rentals this may not be feasible and may not be helpful. Nevertheless, the association should enact this policy for all rental properties in the community.

The association may also consider amending its CC&Rs. This option is more realistic for planned communities than condominiums as a condominium association will likely need the approval of 100% of its owners to insert or amend rental restriction language in its CC&Rs.[2] Amending the CC&Rs can be a very difficult proposition due to the approval requirements, but if the problem with short-term rentals in your community is big enough, the option may be worth at least considering.

The association can also look to other restrictions in the CC&Rs that the owner and his or her tenants may be violating. It is very common with short-term rentals to experience problems involving traffic, parking, trash, noise, and other nuisances. Chances are your CC&Rs contains use restrictions that govern and or prohibit these issues. Associations can also look to see if an owner has registered the property as a rental with the county assessor. Failing to do so is a violation of Arizona law and may trigger language in the CC&Rs that requires owners to abide by the law. While enforcing these violations may not reduce the number of short-term rentals in your community, it may help with the negative repercussions of the underlying issue.

The current law certainly favors owners being able to freely use their property as a rental, despite the harmful impact short-term rentals can have on a community. Efforts can be made to try and change the law regarding rentals or change the law making it easier for associations to amend the CC&Rs. Residents of a community impacted by this problem can and should get involved in the legislative process. You can contact your local representative and make your concerns known. There is power in numbers.

The issue of short-term rental properties is plaguing many associations and meaningful solutions may not exist. However, if you are a member of your board of directors and your community is struggling with this issue, I would recommend you meet as a board and talk to your community manager and the association’s legal counsel to explore your options and see if the problem can be remedied.

 Quinten T. Cupps is a partner at Vial Fotheringham, LLP whose practice focuses on representing homeowner and condominium associations throughout the state of Arizona as general counsel and in the areas of enforcement, collections, and civil litigation.

[1] A.R.S. §33-1806.01 & §33-1260.01

[2] A.R.S. §33-1227(D)

CO Gov. Vetoes CAM Licensing Ext.; CAMICB Approves CO License Waiver

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) vetoed the bill that would have extended the Community Association Management licensing program until July 1, 2021. Pending a veto override by the General Assembly, the licensing regime will end July 1, 2019. This means that licenses will no longer be required to manage community associations in the state of Colorado. Citing the lack of data proving the licensing regime protects consumers, the governor instead called for an Executive Order that directs the regulatory agency to consider, develop, and make recommendations on matters pertaining to community associations. Such matters include: licensing, transparency, and homeowner rights and consumer protections. The recommendations are due to the Governor by January 1, 2020.

In anticipation of action, CAMICB approved the Colorado License as a prerequisite waiver to apply for and sit for the CMCA Examination at its May Board of Commissioners meeting. While the license will become inactive in the state as of July 1, CAMICB will accept evidence of the license in good standing at the time of the regime’s sunset date as a fulfillment of the CMCA prerequisite requirement until July 1, 2020. This is great news for managers who opted not to take the Community Associations Institute (CAI) M-100: Essentials of Community Association Management course work on their pathway to licensure, since they now have another way to establish eligibility for the CMCA. The M-100 remains an approved prerequisite requirement. CMCA applications and its website are under revision due to this and other changes, so if you have immediate questions please email CAMICB at info@camicb.org.

Matthew Green, Director
Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB)
mgreen@camicb.org

Reserve Studies & Your Community’s Long-Term Goals

Jessica Vail, Director
Marketing & Business Development
The Falcon Groupimage

It is widely known that having an updated Capital Reserve Study is vital for the success of any community association; as it is a guide to help set aside funds and is the road map for all future capital improvement projects and expenditures.

How to understand your reserve study

The Reserve Study includes the identification, quantification and financial analysis of only the replacement or major repair of the association’s common elements.  It offers recommendations as to the amount of money an association should fund on a yearly basis.  The analyses and recommendations are important in that they help avoid possible future special assessments of the individual unit owners.  The analyses also takes into account the site-specific existing conditions, their useful life and the realistic replacement and maintenance costs based upon actual material costs and site-specific individual item’s method of construction.

It is also important to include a preventative maintenance plan because it meets legal, fiduciary and professional requirements.  It provides for the planned maintenance of major components and minimizes the need for special assessments.  Homeowners, especially those on fixed income, may have limited resources and might be unable to afford the large special assessments necessary for major replacements. 

While it is recommended that a community’s Reserve Study is updated every three years (5 for new communities), it is important to look at the reserve study as a living document.  There are many instances that require an update even within a three-year window.  For example, if the community has had a major renovation or replacement project, it is imperative that the Reserve Study reflect this change to retain its accuracy and make sure funds are being properly allocated.  If there is any uncertainty, it is always recommended to consult your engineer or Reserve Specialist.

Planning for the future

Far too often, associations are finding themselves in an underfunded position at the beginning of a replacement project. Whether it is reconstructing roadways, sidewalks, roofs or other aspects of the community, the association will rely on funding that has been recommended and established over the useful life of the item. 

Standard useful lives are, often times, based solely upon standards used in the engineering industry taken from information listed in life cycle analysis publications and/or manufacturer’s specifications.  This can result in underfunding.  Site specific useful lives must be used.  Actual conditions must be physically inspected and changes must be made to the projected useful lives as conditions change.  Aesthetics may also affect the replacement of an item sooner than scheduled. 

Another key factor is:  quantities.  Quantities should be verified by the as-built conditions.  This must be done for any initial reserve analysis and should always be field-checked on subsequent studies.  Failure to provide an association with correct quantities may result in a significant underfunded condition in the future. 

The unit costs provided in the funding table for the replacement of the Capital Reserve items should be based upon a number of sources, including published documentation on replacement costs.  They should also be based upon the Reserve Specialist’s experience in site and building construction.  The individual reconstruction or replacement of each item should be analyzed and the resulting unit costs should be adjusted accordingly.  Individual (site-specific) characteristics affecting the unit’s costs are different on every site and the replacement costs must be adjusted accordingly.  Existing site conditions, the size and scope of the future replacement project, the job access locations; the site restoration costs and presence existing components are all variables that affect the item’s replacement costs.  Many times the unit replacement costs shown in these studies barely cover the materials costs for the item. 

There are quite a few moving parts involved with an accurate Capital Reserve Study. It is imperative to work closely with your engineer or Reserve Specialist to ensure its accuracy and that the study is being updated on a regular basis to fit the needs of your community. 

Give us your thoughts. Lessons learned when developing a reserve study and just how do you go about planning for the unexpected? Comment here.

Avoid “Committee Anarchy”

Tips for Keeping Committees On Track

By Raymond Dickey
Publisher, AssociationHelpNow

Many associations have committees. These committees work on behalf of the board of directors. Social committee, architectural committee, newsletter committee —regardless of the type of committee, it’s function is to assist the board in gathering and reviewing information and planning and executing events and projects. However, one thing all committees should have in common is that they must work at the board’s discretion.

Committees encourage resident participation, provide a wide range of advice and viewpoints and free the usually overtaxed board members to concentrate on their dozens of responsibilities. But if a board is not careful, an out-of-control committee can become a major distraction. Many times this starts with one person, usually a committee chair, who doesn’t understand they serve to assist under the board’s guidelines, and not their own. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to the community, so keeping committees in check is an important part of safeguarding the association. A committee that’s gone rogue doesn’t just wreak havoc with the board and residents, they could create liabilities for the association.

The fear of committees running amok leads many boards to resist utilizing them — but that’s a mistake which hurts both the board and the community. Having unit owners involved in what’s going on creates support for the board as well as a harmonious community atmosphere. So how can boards enjoy the benefits of committees without the fear of “committee anarchy”? The first step is, of course, not to allow any committee to swerve out of control. So how is this done? Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • The board should clearly define, on paper, the goals and objectives of each committee.
  • Establish a board liaison for each committee. The board liaison should attend each of that committee’s meetings.
  • Have clear rules about how often and when each committee needs to meet and submit official reports to the board.
  • If applicable, make sure there is a budget for each committee, and confirm they adhere to it.

These simple steps can set an association’s committees on the path toward productivity and harmony. Any board with good committees should be proud of itself for establishing them as well. I always tell people, don’t discount the community aspect of community living. Communities aren’t just made of houses, roads and sidewalks. It’s the atmosphere — friendliness, fun and a sense of camaraderie — that make a community not just nice or good, but great.

Tell us about your experiences working with volunteer committees. What works for you? And, what doesn’t? Share your insights here.