“Manager Licensing Explained” – News-Press

“Manager Licensing Explained” – News-Press

Q: What exactly is a CAM? I hear this term used at some of our board meetings. (K.R., via e-mail)

A: The term “CAM” is an acronym often used when referring to a “community association manager.”

A CAM is a person licensed by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to perform “community association management” services for “community associations.” Community associations include mandatory residential homeowners’ associations, condominiums, and cooperatives.

Community association management is comprised of activities that require substantial specialized knowledge, judgment, and managerial skill, including: controlling or disbursing funds; preparing budgets or other financial documents; assisting in the noticing or conduct of meetings; determining the number of days required for statutory notices; determining amounts due; collecting amounts due before the filing of a civil action; calculating the votes required for a quorum or to approve a proposition or amendment; drafting meeting notices and agendas; calculating and preparing certificates of assessment and estoppel certificates; and coordinating maintenance and other day-to-day services involved in the operation of the community association.

Florida law requires licensure for an individual to perform community association management for community associations with more than 10 units or that have an annual budget or budgets in excess of $100,000. A person who performs clerical or ministerial functions under the direct supervision and control of a CAM or who is charged only with performing the maintenance of the community association and who does not assist in any of the specialized management services described above is not required to hold a CAM license.

The law does not require a community association to engage the services of a CAM, but if it does, they are required to be licensed except in the limited circumstances set forth above.

Q: Is there a law that says a condominium board members cannot share draft minutes until the board approves those minutes? (B.R., via e-mail)

A: No. I am not a proponent of individual board members “sharing” association information with owners unless it is done through proper channels, which in this case would be a request by an owner to inspect or copy official records.

If the draft meeting minutes are in the possession of the condominium association at the time the written request to inspect or copy same is made by a unit owner, they should be made available to the unit owner who made the written request.

Section 718.111(12)(b) of the Florida Condominium Act (the “Act”) provides that the official records of the condominium association must be made available to a unit owner for inspection or copying within 45 miles of the condominium property, or within the county in which the condominium property is located, within 10 working days after receipt of a written request by the board of directors or its designee.

The statute defines what constitutes an “official record” of the association quite broadly. Section 718.111(12)(a)6 and 12(b) of the Act provides that the minutes of all meetings of the condominium association, its board of directors, and the unit owners, constitute official records that are to be permanently maintained from the inception of the condominium association. Further, Section 718.111(12)(a)18 of the Act contains a “catch all” provision which encompasses all “written” records not specifically listed elsewhere in the statute that relate to the operation of the condominium association.

Unapproved minutes have been the subject of arbitration decisions rendered by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (the “Division”). The arbitrator in one case held that draft minutes are also required to be maintained as official records, and made available to the unit owners, even though they are unapproved. In another case, the arbitrator held that a management company employee’s draft meeting minutes became official records of the condominium association at the moment they were put in the possession of the condominium association. While decisions of the Division are not binding legal precedent, they are sometimes considered to be persuasive if presented in the course of legal proceedings.

Joseph E. Adams is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law, and an Office Managing Shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff. Please send your community association legal questions to jadams@beckerlawyers.com. Past editions of the Q&A may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.