When it comes to multifamily buildings, who is in charge of the property and how well those people are trained are critically important factors in the successful operation of the community. The best property managers stay current in their industry by keeping abreast of new developments in building technology, administration and communication.
Florida offers several classes and enrichment programs to property management professionals. Professionals like Gary Budd, president of Crest Management Group in Boca Raton, continuing education is essential to competency. “In order for a property manager to be fully knowledgeable, they should be doing 30 to 40 a year on education,” says Budd.
Under Section 468.432 of Florida Statute and parts of the Administrative Code, managers are required to have a license if they manage community associations for compensation when the association or associations served contain more than 10 units or have an annual budget or budgets in excess of $100,000.
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation requires property managers complete continuing education coursework in order to renew their Community Association Manager’s (CAM) license, according to Michael Richter, president of Community Planning Associates in Boca Raton, “Florida statutes require 20 hours of continuing education every two years and those 20 hours need to be in certain categories,” Richter says. “There is a two hour legal update every year and then four hours of insurance and finance, physical operations, human resources and electives.”
Managers need to educate themselves to be able to educate their board members and their homeowners efficiently,” says Lori Janicki, who serves as the president of Marco Island-based Continuing Education Matrix, a CEU provider for licensed community association managers and other licensed professionals. Janicki is the former executive assistant of Community Association Management Professionals (CAMP), an organization that offers professional development training for managers located in Hallandale.
“A community association manager has to be multifaceted,” Richter says. “It’s not like being a CPA—you know one thing—you know accounting. Here you have to know insurance, you have to know a little bit about the law, you have to know about the operation of an association, you have to know building operations, elevators, boilers, roofs, painting, paving, carpeting—just about everything there is to know about a physical property.”
While attendance at continuing education courses is mandatory for those who wish to keep their CAM license current, the way in which property managers can go about obtaining their biyearly 20-hour credits is not a one-size-fits-all process. Richter, who has been offering correspondence courses since Florida manager licensing requirements came into effect in 1988, says in his experience, people prefer to take their courses in a variety of ways. Many prefer doing so via correspondence because they are least burdening on a tight schedule.
The constant change in factors such as inclement weather, insect infestations and regulations regarding pools that affect South Florida communities directly dictate the need for further training for property managers, Budd says. “The law regarding condominiums and HOA’s—the Florida statutes change every year and the property manager, in order to do his or her job, definitely should be up on the changes to the law,” Budd says. “As the property manager, there are various on-site things like landscaping, pest control and pools that we get information from those organizations to enrich our knowledge. We also get information about insurance. That’s a very big part of our job, to make sure the communities are insured properly. The more knowledge we have of things that go on in properties the better managers we can be.”