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Navigating the Community Association Manager (CAM) License Journey in Illinois

Community Association Managers (CAMs) play a pivotal role in maintaining the smooth functioning of community associations, overseeing the financial, administrative, and maintenance needs of buildings and communities. Oftentimes, realtors and licensing agents can find themselves unknowingly acting as a CAM, and then, because of a disgruntled homeowner or competitor, they are suddenly under investigation by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”).

If you are licensed by IDFPR as a leasing agent or real estate broker, be careful not to cross the line and perform services that would require you to have a CAM license. Operating without the CAM license could result in an investigation and fines against you for not having the license and could also cause IDFPR to discipline your other primary license. If you think you may be acting as a CAM or you have been reported to IDPFR, contact us before taking any further actions.

Understanding the Community Association Manager Role

To ensure a high standard of professionalism and competence in this field, Illinois has enacted the Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act (225 ILCS 427/). A “Community Association Manager” is an individual involved in the administration of financial, administrative, maintenance, or other duties for a community association. This includes collecting funds, preparing budgets, conducting meetings, maintaining records, and coordinating various responsibilities outlined in the management contract.

It’s essential to note that support staff, such as bookkeepers or administrative assistants, are not considered community association managers under this Act. A few other exemptions where you do not need a license include being a Board Member of the Association who is not getting paid for their services or providing these services to an association which has 10 units or less.

Licensing Requirements

The Act makes it unlawful to provide community association management services without a valid license unless exempt. For those required to obtain a license, the process involves:

  1. Pre-License Education:
    – Completion of 20 hours of pre-license education, which can be taken online or in a classroom setting.
    – Online courses, such as the M-100 (Illinois Edition), are available through organizations like CAI.
  2. Examination:
    – Passing the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) examination administered by the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB).
    – Alternatively, passing the Community Association Management Exam (COMEXM) offered by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
  3. Application Submission:
    – Completion and submission of the Illinois Community Association Manager Licensing Application, along with the required fees (currently $300), to the — Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

2023 Changes to the Community Association Law

Effective June 2, 2023, there was an overhaul to the prior rules related to Community Association Managers and Community Association Management firms (86 Ill. Adm. Code 1445).

The new rules require community association management firms engaging in the business in Illinois to be licensed, regardless of when they were formed, to be licensed;

  1. Community association management firms must be authorized to conduct business in the State of Illinois through the Secretary of State, apply to the Department on forms provided, and pay a non-refundable fee in the amount of $650.00 to become licensed.
  2. A person applying for a community association management firm license must also provide evidence that the community association management firm has a licensed and designated community association manager. (Section 1445.35)

Call us if you’re uncertain about what license you need or if IDFPR has contacted you. At 1818, we understand the intricate legal problems that many professionals encounter, and we can help you navigate your licensure issues.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

Author Bio

Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association. 

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